Pandora Poppy

I collected seeds from my Pandora poppies and saved them to plant next year. 

I harvested apricots, blackberries, peppermint, parsley, lettuce, and tomatoes from the garden.

I canned apricot jam from our apricots.

I hosted a party for the young women from church.

I used blackberries from the garden to make blackberry scones (and used milk in place of cream in the recipe, which saved money as well as a trip to the store). The stand was given to me years ago. I made mint tea from peppermint from the garden. The straws were purchased from the clearance section of the grocery store for $0.25 a couple of months ago and arranged in a cookie jar that was gifted to my husband many years ago. I made choclate frogs using a mold I have had for years and decorated the platter with nasturtiums from the garden(the leaves look like lily pads).

I used a cake mix from one of the ones my mother got for free at a garage sale recently to make miniature cupcakes, which I topped with homemade glaze icing and sugared violas that I grew in my garden. I borrowed the tiered stand from my mother, who purchased it at a garage sale.

I made mini three-layer cakes using a one-egg cake recipe and decorated them icing and with mint leaves from the garden. These were baked in some half-sheet pans that I had purchased at a garage sale years ago and cut with an old cutter that also came from a garage sale.

The marble board on which they were arranged was given to me after the owner of it passed away. I cut flowers from the garden for the table and arranged them in vases that were also purchased at a garage sale.

We made cucumber sandwiches with cucumbers bought on sale at $0.38 each. The tray I served them on was purchased for $1 at a garage sale. The punch bowl contained hibiscus tea made with bulk hibiscus. I purchased them in bulk from Winco. I made ice cubes with violas from the garden to float in the cold tea. The punch bowl was purchased 55% off from the current price on Amazon during the lockdown in 2020. I had been looking at it for some time and when the price dropped way down (as no one was having parties then) I bought it. I plan to use it for many events in the future.

I served apricots from one of our trees in another garage sale purchased piece.

I made meringues and arranged them on the plate of a candle stand that used to belong to my mom.

The milk bottles were purchased long ago. I had the napkins but bought a second set, which I was wanting anyway, and I purchased the tablecloth, which is something I was planning to have on hand for parties. Someone spilled red hibiscus tea on it; I sprayed it and it came right out washed on cold water, so that was wonderful! I plan to buy more of these tablecloths in the future to have on hand for larger parties.

I collected shower-warm up water and used it to water potted plants in the garden. I also used water left in glasses at the end of the day to water potted plants.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Oh my! Your garden party food, flowers, fruit all look absolutely beautiful 🌸 thanks for the inspiration Brandy!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    *creatively used up leftovers from our daughter’s graduation party
    *was gifted 2 dozen farm fresh eggs and a jar of honey from my visiting aunt who keeps chickens and bees 🐝
    *used a $10 off $20+ coupon from Amazon to try pick up in lockers- bought 20 packets of jerky for vacation or food storage for less than $14! Planned pick up for when had other errands to run.
    *found cute rafts at 5 Below for some nephews whose birthdays are this summer- added $1 bag of gummies to finish the gifts 🎉
    *picked up garden soil for $2 a bag during Home Depot Memorial sale
    *found a new outlet store: sunscreen for 25 cents a tube was the biggest deal but lots of cool overstock items
    *took home leftovers from a family BBQ
    *paid an extra $500 toward mortgage principal ⭐️

    Grocery store: stocked up on sale Suddenly Salad boxes (we love these and add pepperoni and veggies to make a meal) for $1 each

    Buy Nothing Group: a box of books (I love my library but these will be great for family vacation this summer!), baby pool (will plant strawberries in), 80! Boost protein shakes

    Hope everyone has a great week ☺️

      1. Thank you Amy! It’s a long ways off but I’m thrilled to throw anything extra we can at it ☺️

        1. Way back when I was a real estate agent, I would share with first time home buyers that they should look at 30 year mortgages, but then make one additional payment a year which reduced the loan to 19 years. It afforded them the better interest rates that were affordable to those just starting out.

  2. Brandy, what a beautiful setting for your party! Do you cater? Just kidding!

    Everything looks delicious. What do you spread on the bread for the cucumbers? They look so yummy. My mother in law used to make meringues. I should have had her teach me. She taught me to cook when I was a very young bride and for that I am forever thankful.

    I hope you have a wonderful day!

  3. So beautiful and elegant! I love everything you did to make your evening special. I helped a few neighbors save money this week: one I helped find and load free firewood, then helped another find and load Facebook marketplace kitchen chairs we found for sale. Oh, and for myself, I used the tomatoes, squash, and herbs from my garden in several meals this week. Thank you for the inspiration.

  4. This week I cut hubby’s hair and beard.
    I only bought veg and milk this week. I cooked all meals from scratched on the cook once eat twice principle. All washing was dried on line. I have done an Inventory of freezer. I am off to the supermarket first time in 2 years tomorrow. I have read books from the library and am still knitting.
    We picked broad beans, lettuce and strawberries , the harvest begins
    I was bought a David Austin rose golden celebration. The stems don’t seem strong enough to hold up the blooms, any ideas?
    We decided not to make cakes to try to loose weight
    We will get £700 for energy bills from the chancellor it will definitely help with the energy bills.
    We meet DD1 and SiL for breakfast on the seafront. It was lovely to see them in the fresh air and sunshine , although it was not very frugal.
    We were entertained on Saturday, the Blue tits fledged as we were eating our breakfast. The first 2 crash landed on the path and hopped to the Amelanchier where the parents were. The third landed in the pomegranate, the other 3 made it to the Amelanchier. There may have been others earlier before we had breakfast. It’s quite now without them.
    I purchased a disabled rail card which will give us 1/3 off all rail fares for 3 years.
    Please keep safe

    1. Chris – could you share more about the cook once eat twice. I’m familiar with the concept. What kind of things did you make for the week? Thanks

      1. This is my take on the idea
        I cooked mince(hamburger) and mashed potatoes, I cooked enough for 3 meals and froze 2 Cottage Pies. These will be defrosted in the fridge (this cools the fridge for a time)and reheated in the microwave for further meals. I make a large sausage meat and stuffing pie eat one portion then portion up the rest and freeze. I always cook a whole chicken and use the meat for subsequent meals. I can get 4 meals for 2 + broth out of a 1.25kg chicken. I do beans in the pressure cooker then can them for further use. The idea is to save gas and have quick meal in the freezer. I use a Remoska, pressure cooker and microwave most of the time I seldom use my oven.

  5. Your party preparations looked lovely! You have such a great eye for beauty! Curious to know what you had in your sandwiches in addition to cucumbers? Everything looked yummy, and your choices were so clever. Elegant yet inexpensive.

  6. The party decor looks lovely! I’ve been swamped with work as usual at the time of year but thankfully I have only a few weeks till summer vacation.
    *I dyed my sons hair. He’s been asking for a change and I had some hair dye on hand. It wasn’t exactly the color he wanted but it was close enough.
    *Ive made coffee & tea at home instead of hitting up Starbucks.
    *I found a cheaper place for bubble tea. It’s an occasional treat for my son.
    *I used up some cooked pumpkin in a smoothie.
    *I made several liters of yogurt.
    *I made pancakes from scratch for breakfast over the weekend.
    *a friend gifted me some kid’s books.
    *I met up with a language study group. I did buy drinks but I also made a new friend.
    *I walked in the park.
    *A friend was in town for business and we shared some soft drinks while sitting at a picnic table.
    *I’ve harvested basil, dill, mint, and parsley. The Guinea pigs eat the parsley.

  7. What a gorgeous set up!

    There was an error in my Misfit Market order. They forgot an order of Brussel Sprouts and I had a loaf of French bread in the box that I did not order. I emailed them, received a credit, and kept the bread.

    The teen made pizza, muffins, and crepes

    Brought home chips from work.

    My son has been on a takeout kick (his hours have been all over the place,) so I saved some of his takeout containers to use for leftovers here.

    I used a $5 Best Buy rewards towards a clearance screen cover for my husband’s phone

    I received a free flag from Ace Hardware

    I redeemed points for a free dozen of Krispy Kreme donuts

    I got all of my plants where I want them. I don’t have many containers but I have sage, lemon verbena, oregano, lavender, radishes, and lettuce growing.

    School was out Wednesday, so I’ve been home. I haven’t gone anywhere unless necessary. Summer school starts next Monday, so it’s back to work for three weeks, then off until August.

    I’ve listed a handful of things on a buy nothing site. If they aren’t gone by the end of the week, I’ll drop them off at a thrift store. I’m hoping to get the house back under control this summer.

    My trash rate was going to increase $50. I nearly fell over. I called them and now it’s only going to be $15 more. If it creeps up after these 3 months, I’ll look for a different company.

  8. Hi Brandy, as I read through the party details, I kept marveling at your energy level, I had a visual of the energizer bunny ;). I remember my mother taking me to high teas at nice hotels to show me what they were all about and how to behave. The young ladies are lucky to have been to your party and experience such a lovely event. I am still a sucker for white tablecloths!

  9. How lovely! You definitely have the gifts of hospitality and making things beautiful!! I’m sure everyone in attendance will remember such a wonderful experience.

  10. Your flowers and table look beautiful.
    -We found some edible mushrooms and explored some new foraging spots. Time outdoors with family is one of our priorities. We will go back in another month when wild blackberries should be ripe. I’ve also been cutting fresh lilacs.
    -Started and finished planting my garden. Dug in compost and manure. Still need to get mulch laid down. Moved some more volunteer raspberries and dug up more hosta/ground cover to make space for more berries. Enjoyed fresh asparagus, lettuce and kale from the garden. Had a few unexpected family get togethers, thankful to have some basic hot dogs and burgers in the freezer for a quick meal.
    -Not so frugal, we had a mouse in the house. It got into some of our freshly baked bread.

  11. What a lovely summer feast! You’ve been so creative in using what you had to put it together. The young women will know how much they are appreciated.when someone has gone to all this care for them.

    A quiet week here, and a very sad one, following the news.

    I focused on paying some large bills, and getting some groceries. That leaves the spending for the coming month done. No shortage of projects to work on, though I seem to be going in slow motion..

    I’ve been getting my summer tops out and ready for the season. I thought I would need a couple of new ones. I couldn’t find anything I liked online. After searching through different stashes at home, I found I had more than I thought, so I’ve saved that expense. The bonus is that they are all in colours and styles that I really like. I am pleased that none of them need mending.

  12. The door gasket on our fridge is beginning to pull away and leak air. I was able to use some soft foam weather stripping (and a lot of custom trimming) to fill the gap. The weatherstripping was left over from sealing around a door last fall. Our fridge works fine in every other regard, so I’m happy to be able to make this repair.

    I took my kiddo to an appointment in town. We combined other errands on the trip. Kiddo drove, to get time for the learner’s permit requirement. For lunch, we went to Red Robin. I had a birthday burger on my account, and we shared that. It was plenty! We brought drinks from home. We picked up produce that was on sale – mangoes, cucumbers, a watermelon ($3 – whee!), zucchini, and a lemon. We picked up a load of pine mulch for the garden – $5 per truckload at the slash-mulch site, and they also picked out their ‘prize’ for celebrating the end of school. (a hat and matching bandanna, and some purple hair dye)

    My husband got a mushroom mini grow kit for free with rebates from Ibotta. It grew a nice little crop of oyster mushrooms. I read online that you can seal up the grow area, turn the block around, and do a second grow on the back side of the block. I did that, and it worked, but the crop was smaller. I also read that you can cultivate oyster mushrooms outdoors, and that they grow well in straw. They grow more aggressively, compared to other mushroom varieties. It’s very dry where I live, but I knew I wanted to try this out. I took an old beehive box and filled it about 1/3 full with pressed-down straw I got free at the feed store (they let people come and pick up the loose bits that fall off the bales of hay and straw). I broke up the mushroom block into small pieces, and made a layer of that in the beehive box, then covered it with another layer of the straw. I watered it thoroughly, and I’ve been giving it a sprinkle of water each day. It is in my garden, in a mostly shady spot, and it’s covered with a piece of plexiglas I had on hand. The mycelium is growing a lot! I’m not sure if I’ll get mushrooms, but it’s worth a try, since I had all the components available to me.

    Also in the garden, I have radishes, lettuces, kale, chard, and spinach growing, my peas are sprouted, and my strawberries are blooming. Beets are up, and we are watching for the green beans, kabocha pumpkins, cucumbers, and zucchini. There are flowers tucked in here and there. I put in two raspberry canes this spring – one is doing well, the other appears to be dying – I may be returning that one to the store (there is a 1 year guarantee). The new grapevine is growing. I don’t think I will get grapes this year, but I may take some of the leaves to make dolmas. The entire garden is mulched, which really cuts down on the need for water. I had saved the containers our cat litter comes in – they are about 2 gallons – and I turned those into drip waterers for the items that benefit from deep watering – grapes, zucchini, pumpkins, and raspberries. The deer have never bothered my herbs, so they are planted as a border outside the garden. This year the deer are eating them, so I’m slowly taking small plants and moving them to the enclosed, deer-proof space.

    I gave everyone haircuts (including myself), and I dyed kiddo’s hair purple. They have dark brown hair, and didn’t want to bleach it, so the purple is more like when you see a black beetle in sunlight – it only shows in brighter light. They’re very happy with it, and honestly, it looks cute.

    I had my eye exam (free with the insurance my work provides) and got my prescription updated. I needed to order glasses (my most recent ones were damaged a while back and I’m wearing ones that are 2 years old). Through Zenni, I was able to get progressive lenses that darken in the sunlight and are coated for all the things I want and need for $75. I was able to use a $15 off code on the Zenni website, and then the card I used to pay for it had a $10 off rebate at Zenni. The options I got would have been a few hundred dollars if I ordered them through the eye doctor.

    We did our standard things too – make a menu, cook at home, take lunch from home for my work. We used the library for books and media, and my husband used sales, coupons, and rebates to buy groceries and other household items.

  13. Your garden party looks like a feature in Victoria Magazine! Everything was so beautiful. 🌸

    This week we ate Swiss chard from the garden. It’s starting to bolt so we’ll finish it this week. The first of our raspberries are delicious! The plants seem to do well here. I planted all my starts for the summer garden. I started another 144 plants in my grow light stand. One tray is a variety of lettuces and the rest are herbs and low water perennials.

    I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to cover the window seat cushion ordered a few months ago. I organized my sewing stash and found the cord ing purchased years ago for $1.50/6 yds for this purpose. I already have some matlasse. I’m getting set up for this project but don’t plan to start until next week when school is over.

    I baked a 3 layer Black Forest cake for my daughter’s birthday using ingredients on hand, except heavy whipping cream. She dislikes frosting and loves chocolate and cherries. It’s nice to have an oven again!!! 😍Today’s plans include cutting my son’s hair since he graduates high school Friday and cleaning bathrooms in preparation for a backyard graduation party that we’ll host. 🧹

    I’ve decided to keep our current homeowners insurance. I’m not having success finding good coverage for less.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

  14. Gorgeous table and food! You have a talent for design.

    Frugal accomplishments this past week:
    * Was given 2 packages of white printer paper and quite a stack of colored paper.
    * A neighbor offered us frozen pork chops and a box of burger patties that they weren’t going to eat.
    * I cooked a half turkey breast given to us by our son and DIL before they left to travel most of the rest of the year. It was delicious. I am going to inventory all the other food we have been given and make sure we use it well.
    * My husband fixed the lock on our front door.
    * I put together a capsule wardrobe for the next few months using what I have except for ordering one dress on sale.
    * We continue to slowly work our way around the house washing windows and screens. Also cleaning all the window shutters.
    * Due to the ongoing drought in California we continue to look at how we can use less water. It doesn’t affect our finances as water is included in our HOA fee and we don’t have a ware meter to see how we are doing.

  15. What a lovely party! It inspires me to think of all the frugal aspects of our celebrations – using things we already have, food already in the pantry, etc. I think your photos would convince anyone that it does not have to cost a lot or even extra outside one’s budget to make others feel special. The time spent is the best gift of all.
    *We continue to refurbish old bee equipment using materials we have or have been given. Bee equipment has gone up in price like everything else so the more we can rehabilitate the better. When we are finished with a project, it is very satisfying to say, “Well, that’s another $60 we didn’t have to spend!” Plus, hammering and painting wooden ware outdoors with the breeze blowing and the birds chirping (and the bees buzzing) is pretty satisfying in itself.
    *I spoke with my FIL’s friend who used to be a commercial beekeeper and has offered me some of his equipment in the past. He and my FIL are going through some of his supplies this week and he said he would pass on what was usable. I am so grateful for this gift and will put it to good use. He said it would make him happy to know it was being used again so it is a good thing for all.
    *We purchased very few groceries this week – only a few things on sale. We did find pork butt for 99 cents a pound which we have not seen in a long time. My husband enjoys smoking them for barbeque which he will do for my FIL’s birthday next Sunday. We will be able to have quite a feast with contributed food from family and things we have on hand.
    *Sold and bartered eggs with neighbors.
    *Harvesting and eating many greens out of the garden as well as our first strawberries of the season. So good, they rarely make it in the house! All the other plants are growing beautifully especially after a solid week of rain and accompanying warm temperatures.
    *My oldest son has been stocking our pond with fish he catches in other creeks and ponds in the area. He wanted to feed them a bit of food to ensure they are getting enough to eat. On-line costs of game fish food were very high but we found some for a fraction of the cost at our local feed store. We didn’t even know they stocked it so we were glad for that discovery as we would prefer to support them anyway.
    *I have been able to dry almost all our laundry outside once the rain stopped and hung other things indoors, as usual.
    *My youngest son is being paid to water flowers for a family member while they are out of town. Best of all, we brought all of the potted flowers home with us so we don’t have to go over to her house to water (and we are on a well, so no additional cost to us.) This gives him a good chance to help someone and to make a little money, as well.
    *I have started reading “The Forest of Vanishing Stars” on recommendation of one of you lovely people and am enjoying it thus far so, thank you!
    *Speaking of wells, I read about others water rationing and droughts and I wish I could bottle up some of ours and send it where it is needed. We have an artesian well which regularly overflows into our spring-fed pond and have two creeks, as well. One of my favorite things is to listen to the creek flow at night through my open window and to listen to the frogs singing to each other on the pond. I wish everyone could be assured adequate water but every place has its challenges. They are just different ones.
    *Much of our frugal efforts this week simply focused on staying the course, doing what we always do and practicing contentment. I think of that British WWII poster “Keep Calm and Carry On” often especially after the events in the news as of late. Sometimes, all we can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and love one another. It’s a small act that has far-reaching implications.
    Have a lovely week, all!

  16. Your garden party looks to have been lovely! You are always an inspiration.

    We did very little in the way of frugality buying going to work and school this. My son did yard work for neighbors and earned some money for it. I am hoping he begins to understand the value of money, something that can take years to understand.

  17. I feel like I got to attend the party! The descriptions and photos are so beautiful! What a good lesson for all of us that beauty is not always expensive..creativity goes a long way!

    I’ve been needing more storage space for canned goods, paper products,etc.since we’re stocking up a bit more again,so I cleaned out some areas and posted my “extras” on local “Give AWAY FOR FREE”facebook page: I gifted an old step exercise bench with a Reebok step video (it hurts my feet now and I haven’t used it in years) and I gave away an almost full container of pricey peanut butter powder, gluten free, that our son can’t use anymore. I had 4 boxes of L’Oréal hair color I gave away,as I grew out my natural silver during Covid. I love gifting items to my neighbors!!

    For a “cheap” date we ordered burritos from the locally owned small bodega nearby and ate on the patio by our pool/waterfall.

    Happy Hour date with girlfriends next week:Bring your own Trader Joe wine and an appetizer to share, my friends enjoy gathering in each other’s homes/patios much more than a restaurant!! We choose the music and can stay as long as we like.Also, we live on same block..can walk, don’t need anyone driving!!!

    Continue to use my LIBRARY. A library date is one of my favorite things, and we often stop for tacos on way home for lunch at another locally owned venue where the prices are low and the food is yummy. I love having a bag of books to take home!!! I am also a “magazine junkie” and can check out magazines!!

  18. Brandy, your party looks gorgeous. It is always nice to see lovely dishes and linens being used. It seems setting a beautiful table is getting to be a lost art.

    I just now got my vegetable garden planted. I am happy that everything is in the ground and am hoping for a good harvest this year. It feels more important than ever to be able to produce your own vegetables.

    I have been very diligent in checking clearance racks when I grocery shop and get a lot my groceries this way at the moment. I picked up two bags of pears, a bag of carrots, a bag of mixed vegetables, a carton of blackberries, a carton of sliced mushrooms and a sleeve of celery all for less than $7. At my regular store I found half price bread, rolls and English muffins. I decided to stop at our local drug store on the way home and was glad I did as I found two bags of grated cheese for $1.49 each and some Seventh Generation wipes and dish soap at over 75% off. As there are only three of us, all of this will last us awhile.

    I have continued to be blessed from our local buy nothing group. I have received two cans of tomato sauce, a tin of tea, a package of sponges, a yellow pepper, a loaf of bread, a book, a tshirt and soap dish and toothbrush holder.

    All laundry was dried outside and we ate all meals at home using what we have except one which we ordered in using a gift card we received for Christmas last year.

    We haven’t needed the heating or air conditioning the last month so we will see savings on our bills. It is supposed to be quite warm the next couple of days but I am keeping the curtains closed and the ceiling fans going and hope not to have to put on the air conditioning. Every little bit of savings help.

    Hope everyone has a productive week!

  19. What a beautiful party! So elegant!

    We have been eating asparagus, rhubarb, and strawberries from the garden. Our fruit trees have started putting on fruit and our blackberries were looking very healthy. Then a big windstorm came through. We lost most of the peaches and cherries on our trees. The apples and pears are still holding strong, though. It snapped several of our blackberry vines off – we lost about 1/3. I doubt I will even have enough cherries to make a cobbler now. I also used to pick lots of apples of my grandparents’ tree for cider and apple sauce. But my aunts and uncles have been cleaning up the property and cut down the tree. I was devastated when I saw it, as it was LOADED with apples.

    I froze some chives from the garden. My oregano is growing like crazy. I plan to dry some soon.

    We were finally able to plant the rest of the garden. It had been so wet and cold this spring. It was later than usual, but it’s in. Our son had fun helping plant it.

    I wear daily contacts, which is not frugal at all, but needed due to a condition with my eyes. Since I only work 4 days a week, I try to only wear them 3-4 days per week. I still buy them 1 year at a time, as that’s the cheapest price per contact. But I can usually make them stretch two years. Then my insurance covers most of the cost (I only get so much money to spend over a two year time frame). This week, I only wore my contacts 2 times, which should help stretch them.

    My husband and I both enjoy our morning coffee. I was found a store brand I could switch to that tastes the same as the name brand and is about $4 cheaper per can.

    I better organized my seasonal decor and party supplies for the cost of only two storage tubs (~$12). I was able to use other items I already had to organize the rest. This way I can access things much more easily and am more likely to use the stuff.

    My son was sick for 4 days this week. We were able to get in to his Dr’s office, which is free with our insurance. They did do some lab work and a chest X-ray, but it should be covered by the money my employer puts on an employee benefit card for us. I don’t get a lot of PTO and my husband is self-employed. We were able to rearrange our work schedules so I only had to take one day off and my husband only missed 3 hours.

    I combed through our budget and found about $20 of cuts/savings I could use for other things. Gas and groceries are the hardest for us to stay in budget, so I have allotted some of the savings for those areas.

    I love Downton Abbey, so my husband and I made a date night to go see the new movie. The last time we went to a movie was the last Downton Abbey movie! We went to the early showing, so it was only $11 for both of our tickets. We did buy some snacks and went out to dinner afterwards. We spent about $50 total, but I don’t think that’s too bad since we only go on about 1 date a year! My in laws watched our son, so free babysitting.

    I have been taking advantage of every gas rewards program out there. The Murphy Drive app and the Upside app have been the best. Upside is nice because you can use it almost anywhere. You don’t get immediate savings, but you do get cash back. I also like it because there is no minimum to withdraw. I almost always withdraw my earnings as soon as I get them. I have a code that will get you an extra 15 cents per gallon back: JESSICA338779

    We have not had to turn on our downstairs air conditioner yet. Our upstairs gets much warmer than downstairs, so the upstairs air conditioner has run a few times in the afternoons. But we’ve been able to open the windows at night and use the ceiling fans. It’s supposed to get hot today and stay hot for a few days, but I’m hoping we can tough it out until it cools down at night again. I’m such a baby about temperature. I hate to be hot. I actually do much better at waiting to turn on out heat in the winter.

    I almost spent $3 on some chip clips and then I remembered I had clothespins that would work just fine! Duh!

    I dried a couple loads of laundry on the line. I wish it had been more, but it has been raining so much.

    I purchased some pictures I needed for my son’s albums and to display at home with a 20% off coupon. I also had a free shipping code.

  20. I’m so enjoying the photos of your garden, as it grows and becomes even more lovely. The color of the poppy is beautiful. I planted poppies late this year. The plants are looking happy, but I’m not sure I’ll get any flowers. What a lovely tea party you created from what was ripe and on hand. Last week, I harvested mint to dry, which, along with mint I potted, will be given as a gift. Also harvested were asparagus, peas, mulberries and lambs quarter. I baked sweet potatoes in the toaster oven, instead of the regular propane oven, so the energy was free, with our solar. We’ve been enjoying lots of salads with our lettuce. I harvested rose petals, and started a glycerite. I harvested purslane for pesto, and also to dry and add to a greens mix. Purslane is packed with omega-3’s, as well as many other nutrients, for those who aren’t familiar with it. An Omega juicer Medical Medium recommends was on sale for 20% off. I decided to look on Marketplace, and found a like new one locally for $200 (it was used twice), which retails for $360. This one is a higher end model, and has pasta and breadstick attachments, and will make nut butters and nut milks. The pulp it sends out is drier than the juicer I’d been using, which means it will produce more juice, stretch produce just a bit farther, and pay for itself over time. It was an investment in my health, and I hope to use it many years. My husband and I worked on a new aeration and filter system for our rainwater, which is finished, except for a pressure gauge he wants to add. This job would have easily cost $1000, if we had hired someone. My husband harvested our garlic on Sunday, all but a few heads that I harvested earlier in the week. I enjoyed watching The Book Thief via Netflix, and also Dear Evan Hansen, which I loved. I was in Lowes twice during the week, and found a few marked down plants. Two geraniums ($4), a lantana, and an another unusual geranium “Vancouver Centennial” with two-toned leaves, ($2 ea.) were purchased. While working in a pottery gallery last week, I began reading Cloud Cuckoo Land, which has been interesting so far. At Food Lion, we bought 2 huge watermelons for $3.99 ea. and cherries for $2.99/lb.

  21. We have gathered a few ripe strawberries from our plants that we have in our backyard. They are in containers, but I think we will have lots to snack on this year. We spent the entire day yesterday at my mom’s – mowing the grass at her house and our adjoining property, planting the rest of our garden there (tomatoes, cucumbers, more green beans, and two kinds of peppers), and taking her to the store then helping her put her groceries away. She will be 80 next month and does not drive. My son lives next to her and is very good about visiting with her, but she gets lonely, so she quite enjoyed the day. We went through the last stack of books that my daughter had at our house – she took the majority home, and I have about 10-12 to donate to the little free libraries in town. My husband brought me home the cutest collection of plates, dessert plates, and coffee cups with an adorable pig on them. There was also a milk pitcher, butter dish, and decorative tray. Someone had brought them to the dump to throw away, but he rescued them for me. I washed them up – they still had the price tags on them! There is one small chip on one of the dessert plates, but other than that, they are perfect. I have the pitcher and butter dish on the tray on my table. They look so cheerful. I’ve been reading books I already own, and I enjoy writing in my journals – I have a Gratitude Journal where I write down things that I am thankful for or that make me happy and a book quote journal where I jot down lines from books that hit me.

  22. Brandy: That table was absolutely stunning. Have you ever thought about opening your garden to small events like a bridesmaid shower or baby shower etc for a fee? Your customers could provide their own food or you charge them and you provide the food? Just a thought, but that might be too much work.

  23. I spent a lot of time in the gardens this week. The back garden is under a huge oak tree and was neglected for years before we moved here. There’s still lots of old roots and such to dig out every season while also digging out the weeks. It’s about 3/4 done for this year and, truth be told, that may be all that gets done out there this season. We will buy a load of triple mix in the fall to put on this particular garden. I discovered a few plants died off over the winter; sweet woodruff, wild ginger and ladies mantle are no longer. I will look for replacements. But the lilac that I fertilized is doing very well. I planted some annual begonias in this garden for a bit of colour over the summer months.
    My asparagus from the front garden has given us a couple of meals but it’s been such dry weather that I doubt we’ll get much more this year. The kale and lettuce are growing nicely and I have a few pak choy plants doing well. I lost a sage plant from the front herb garden. Maybe it’s the winter salt on the sidewalks?
    I loaned a neighbour some deep cake pans so she could bake a celebration cake. I got the pans from a neighbour who wasn’t using them. I laugh and call them the neighbourhood pans. The neighbour is having a pre-wedding dinner at her home this weekend and she will probably borrow a patio table as well.
    Our Orioles are still coming to my makeshift feeder in the front garden. I made the feeder from an old cottage cheese container and a couple of skewers. A jar of cheap grape jelly is keeping them happy and us entertained. I found my hummingbird feeder that I thought was lost so I will clean it up, make some feed and put it up this week. I have seen a couple of hummers recently.
    I’ve been invited to a baby shower mid June so I’ll go through my fabric stash and make a rag quilt.
    This afternoon I’m starting some water aerobics classes. It’s a win-win situation for me. Although I had to pay for a membership it’s at a facility that is for disabled people (although anyone can join). I will get some exercise and also help out an agency that helps lots of folks.
    I’m continuing to use up foodstuff in the house. The past week I made banana pancakes for supper one night using up a couple of aging bananas ; make stuffed shells using home made ricotta, a bit of leftover cottage cheese, some frozen kale and frozen red pepper and jarred sauce and shells from an open package. We made chicken parmesan using sauce made from last years cherry tomatoes that had been roasted and frozen. the leftover chicken was used another night in tacos. I also used up some tomatoes that were going soft to make bruschetta. That also used up the last of the baguette before it went too hard to eat. And I found a few packages of frozen sugar snap peas in the freezer so we’ve eaten them too.
    I have a bad habit of stocking up and forgetting to actually use it up too. I’m trying, in my old age, to correct that habit.
    I tried a new tofu recipe (marinated in lime and cilantro) when my vegetarian daughter came to dinner. We’ve also made air fried chickpeas for snacks. And I found 4 lovely Quince last week and made some preserves. When I have bananas going soft I now slice them into a container, freeze and use a few in smoothies instead of ice.
    Today I’m cooking some pinto beans. I must hunt up some spicing for them for something delicious. This week I’m determined to learn how to use my pressure canner.
    This week I have to send a card to a friend with condolences on the loss of her husband. I have a wide selection of cards on hand for all occasions. We also have a “celebration of life” event to attend on Sunday afternoon for a relative who passed 2 years ago. The pandemic prevented us all getting together before now.
    I had my first “in person” visit with my endocrinologist this week. I’m glad everything is fine and good news is my blood pressure seemed quite a bit lower. Another visit this week with my GP for prescription renewal. And I’m finally going to get my haircut.
    Later today I’ll figure out what food to use up this week and make a menu and probably work in the front garden a bit. We have a few hot days coming up with heat warnings here. Nothing like you, Brandy, but for us it’s brutal. But so far I haven’t had to turn on the AC.
    So glad to see you made meringues for your garden party. They look like they turned out beautifully. It’s almost too humid here to make any now but maybe this week I’ll give it a go.
    Take care everyone.

  24. Dear Brandy,
    I have followed your blog for a number of years, but have never posted before until today. Your set-up for the garden party was just lovey! You DO have an abundance of talent, Brandy. Thank you for sharing with us.
    Have a blessed week,
    Kathy B.

  25. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Your beautiful table setting and food for the afternoon tea party would have graced the pages of an upmarket magazine, so classy! I’m sure the young women from church found it delightful.
    So nice to use pretty garage sale finds.
    We picked broad beans, sweet peas, a few strawberries and thinned out the carrots. I scrubbed the carrot thinnings and added them raw to a salad.
    We planted out our seedlings of bedding dahlia, broccoli, cauliflower, more tomatoes and French marigolds as companion planting next to the carrots. We repositioned eight volunteer foxgloves plants.
    I wire brushed the wooden garden furniture ready for oiling on a fine day.
    A daughter and her friend came to stay and brought a bunch of peonies and a cake.
    A neighbour gave us a cucumber. He has been bitten by the gardening bug and asks my husband for advice and has received seedlings.
    I repurposed large ice cream tubs to hold bottles upright in a carousel kitchen cupboard.
    Our guests from a fortnight ago very kindly sent a £50 garden voucher for Sarah Raven and a M & S hamper of lovely goodies. The hamper itself will be very useful. So generous.
    We took a picnic and flask of tea when we went swimming at the beach.
    My husband sent away for a bulk bag of wooden picnic knives and forks. These are much cheaper than plastic plant labels, we write with a Sharpie pen on the handle, then push the knife/ fork end into the ground/ pot. They can be composted or left in the ground to biodegrade.
    I have been diligent in using up every last bit of vegetable, I chop them, stir in a dressing and call it “salad”.
    I bought three pieces of brand new clothing in a charity shop- a linen skirt, linen dress and black jeans for £18.50. The skirt was the bargain of the year as it retails at £119! ( No that’s not a typo!)
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Sarah Raven has such lovely seeds. I have been on her site looking at them many times.

        1. I was looking at just her seeds packets. You could get quite a bit that way.

  26. Beautiful garden party and I’m loving the trellis panel in your garden near the perimeter of your garden! You have a great eye for design. Thanks for sharing!
    Money savings this month:
    * haircuts at home for hubby and son
    *harvested lettuce and salad fixings from our garden
    *online library books (free)
    *fixing meals primarily from what we have in refrigerator, freezer, pantry and garden
    *took advantage of sales using app at Albertsons grocery store.
    *have been limiting driving when possible to save gasoline
    *getting ready to pot a cutting from a unique succulent given to me by a neighbor!

  27. Brandy! First that photo of the gorgeous poppy and then your table set up – just beautiful! I love to make my table setting look special when entertaining and I have missed being able to entertain these past couple of years. I’m hoping to have some small gatherings of girlfriends and some new friends from church over the Summer so I will take inspiration from you!

    Didn’t comment last week as the time seemed to get away from me so this is for two weeks.
    .on payday allocated funds to various envelopes for this month’s spending and saving.
    .transit pass topped up and all bills will be paid online on the first of the month
    .negotiated with my cable co, and have my bill reduced by about $45 per month plus they will waive the $149 installation fee for the new type of box required.
    .made a trip to IKEA to get two new storage bins – for long term food storage – very pleased with how they fit into my pantry.
    .bought some more canned items and some pasta that were all on special and have put them away for long term use.
    .used $10 worth of Loyalty points for some milk and salad greens, which was all I really needed this week for daily groceries
    .had my mammogram and booked for my 4th Covid shot – both free
    .did some hand laundry to go another week without using the laundry room
    .looked out my Summer clothes and only needed to add two new cotton shirts for this year – may need to add some new socks.

    Planned Spending:
    .hair cut
    .coffee with one girlfriend and Saturday coffee and lunch with another.
    .bought books and cookies to support my church’s fundraising efforts

    Lots of walking for free exercise, used the library and watched Netflix for entertainment – trying to enjoy the outdoors more before it gets too hot!


  28. Love cucumber sandwiches! Gas was $4.14 in college town (but $4.03 at Walmart there) to $4.47 two hours south of college town. I made potato salad, coleslaw, hot dogs, hamburgers, tomato sandwiches with the first fresh tomatoes of the season, ate fresh Chilton County peaches, sautéed spinach, egg salad, Vidalia onions, baked turnip slices, ice cream, and a cookie cake. Walked in the neighborhood. My next door neighbor threw out a bunch of stuff and I trash picked two folding outdoor chairs.

  29. Just Beautiful! I enjoyed seeing and reading how you creativly utilized items, such as the plate on the candle stand. These pictures could be a spread in Victoria’s Magazine. Thrifty actions this week: finished reading The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis from the library for entertainment, changed out wardrobe modules for summer, and continue to harvest greens for salads.
    Planning to travel to the Midwest in June to visit family. Rental car rates for the week were 800.00. Fortunately, my sister said we could borrow one of their cars for the week.

  30. That poppy is one of the most beautiful ones I’ve seen. Your garden party looks wonderful and I’m sure memorable for the young ladies from the church.
    We have put some of the garden in. Finally got it distilled. It’s been so wet this spring that it’s been hard to get in the yard.
    Got spare ribs on a buy one get one sale. My DH bbq’d one rack. Made potato salad and bbq beans to go with it. Yummy 😋. Made brownies from a mix I had i in the pantry for dessert.
    Continued to do my PT exercises for my back. One thing the therapist told me was to intentionally get on the ground or floor everyday and get up without having to use furniture as an assist. She said that would help if ever I fall. She also has me doing balance exercises everyday to assist in that I’m 68, so need to pay more attention to some of these things. Staying healthy is frugal.
    Did all the usual – cooked at home, only did full loads of laundry, did our own cleaning and yard work, enjoyed listening to music and books on CD.
    I’m really hoping it will warm up soon. We’ve only had one day of weather over 70degrees in more than 8 months. Does not bode well for the garden. We will persist though with the gardening plans. Just need a few dry days in a row.
    Hope everyone had a good week

  31. Your party, tablescape, garden, and food is just beautiful. You do have an eye for creating beautiful things. It’s so lovely and it’s so enjoyable to see. The garden has come so far along, I wish you could be my landscape designer!

    Do you have any favorite punch recipes? I love the ones with ice cream, but those I find too sweet these days.

    My frugal accomplishment is having an inspection of my house to help with repair costs. It’s a city run program. It went well and I managed to clear some areas of the house that needed doing for some time. Now waiting on approvals, but work should start in July if all goes well. Also, I saved money by not needing to bring a pot luck dish to graduation.

    My non frugal hit this week, was not being able to carpool two hrs away to my grand nieces graduations (1 from hs, one from college). Normally I go with relatives, but they weren’t in town. So, I ended up buying gas on a holiday weekend, which was up .50 a gallon from two weeks ago.

    1. I like to make a pitcher of lemonade and add double the water, sliced lemons, oranges, and limes. I used to make this with lemonade from concentrate. As the bowl got low, I would just add more water. I did this for a party while in college once and was surprised when it still had flavor, so I’ve done it since then.

      The peppermint tea with peppermint from the garden is even less expensive.

      One of the girls told me on Sunday how much she liked the hibiscus tea, because it isn’t real sweet. I used 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tea balls half-filled with hibiscus calyxes to two quarts water, and one orange. I sliced the orange and added it to the tea once it cooled. I squeezed the ends of the oranges to add the juice in as well.

    2. We now have a favorite punch that I do not find as sweet as those with ice cream or sherbet. 1 cup Country Time Lemonade mix, 3 cups cold water, 1 can of chilled Pineapple juice (46 ounces), 2 cans of Sprite. (I use all store brand items!) Mix and enjoy! It is requested now at family gatherings, and some have said that it is good as a mixer with alcoholic beverages if you partake (I do not, but wanted to add that if any would be interested).

  32. What a lovely party! Thank you for sharing with us so we can get ideas.
    *Biggest savings for us is not turning on the house AC unit. My husband purchase a screen thing that hangs from the door frame and has magnetic closures as the kids walk in and out the back door back in December for $4. This allows us to keep the back door open and run a fan. This is our kitchen.
    Our windows are old and previous owners painted them shut. Once again my husband figured out how to take the trim off so we can get the window open and put a fan in the window in the living room.
    *Harvest peppermint and lemon balm for tea. Also got enough lettuce for a 1 tiny bowl of salad. Planning how I can grow more lettuce in the fall.
    *We have a reverse osmosis water filter. This system produces discarded water. My husband made it so the discarded water is being collected in a container and we are using that water to water our tiny garden.
    *Lots of outside play time and back yard fires in a fire pit we made years ago from materials we had. The wood is free from our tree we took down.
    *Another family in our homeschool group introduced us to geocaching. My boys really enjoyed it!

  33. Brandy, thanks for “inviting” us to your garden party! The pictures are just lovely. I’m sure it was an event the young ladies will never forget!

    The last two weeks have been difficult and, therefore, not frugal. I had 3 days of “getting hit by a Mack truck” body aches after an infusion for osteoporosis, and I’ve been left with a flare of severe arthritis pain in both hands. I think it is related since I didn’t even know I had arthritis in one hand. On the good side, my son visited for a few days last week. Now THAT really was not frugal! But we had a lovely visit. We all went to see the new Top Gun movie and remembered when we saw the first one together–the kids were 8 and 10 then! Our son probably watched it a hundred times afterward on TV and VHS. I asked if he planned to do the same with this one…now that he’s almost 44, probably not, LOL.

    The main thing I did was plant my little veggie garden and flower containers. All on the cheap, of course! I planted one tomato, one hill of zukes, 30 onion sets, about 10 feet of Blue Lake bush beans (probably not enough) and 4 starts of buttercrunch lettuce. I also planted a few marigolds.

    I several have nice decorative clay pots that I bought nearly 25 years ago and still use every year. (Plus a few more bought for cheap over the years since then). I mixed last year’s potting soil with one bag of fresh soil. I planted 9 pots. The nurseries and garden magazines always tell you to “pack” the pots with plants, but this year I didn’t, and I think I’m going to like them better. (Not to mention that I saved a bunch of ca$h by not buying so many plants). The plants will have the opportunity to spread out if there aren’t so many in each pot. I didn’t shell out for “thrillers” and my “spillers” were one 6-pack each of sweet alyssum and blue lobelia. Most of my plants were petunias I started on my windowsill. I also seeded nasturtiums and dwarf marigolds in two repurposed planters. Unfortunately, we’re still waiting for summer here…heck, we’re still waiting for spring! The temp has only broken 70F once and we have rain a couple of times a week.

    I bought a copy of Gardening Through the Year, which is British, for $5.69 including postage. This is a gift and I had it sent directly to my friend in Connecticut. I bought this book for 7 pounds at a remainder bookstore in England 24 years ago and it is my favorite and most-used gardening book. It’s the next best thing to having your own English gardener!

    Gas was $4.63 gallon at Costco, which was .12 cheaper than the next cheapest place. The last tank lasted 4 weeks.

    I normally buy a whole year’s worth of ketchup, mustard, mayo and BQ sauce at Memorial Day sales. I noticed that stores still advertised condiments, but usually only one item. I bought Sweet Baby Ray’s BQ sauce for .99. I am in pretty good shape for mustard and ketchup (I no longer insist on Heinz ketchup and I honestly can’t tell the diff), but I need mayo. The cheapest I’ve seen for Best Foods/Hellmann’s was $3.99 with coupon, limit 2. I am not very brand conscious except for Best Foods mayonnaise, but I may have to give it up (and hell will freeze over, LOL).

    Best wishes to everyone here…and Brandy, how do I wangle an invitation to your next party??

    1. I forgot to mention that I also planted 4 bell pepper plants in my little 4×10 raised bed. I started the peppers, tomatoes, lettuce and petunias from seed.

      Also, I noticed that Nancy in E. WA also mentioned that our weather has only hit 70F ONCE this spring. (We live about 15 miles apart, although in different states). It’s pretty discouraging because we often get frost in September. I hope that she is also planting Early Girls because those are probably the only tomatoes that will get ripe!

      1. Maxine, I did plant early girls, plus cherry, Sun sugar and grape tomatoes. These are all in my planters in the back section behind the main garden. Not visible from the front of the house. (they are actually old garbage cans since we are required to use specific ones provided to us). It’s my corn and cucumbers I’m really concerned about, since we haven’t been able to get them in yet.

    2. I do so love alyssum and lobelia. I don’t garden these days, but a nice pot of them on my front steps sounds like a lovely idea. Color and wonderful scent!

  34. Incredible pics and warmth a beautiful yet frugal accomplishment that party was! So very Victoria Magazine like, and such an inspiration for the young women you hosted (and for us too!).

    My frugal week:
    – my mum gave me some avocados and I gave her some brownies
    – I sewed a button back on a 10yo pair of shorts. They’re sturdy, comfy, and durable!
    – I made grilled cheese and sauerkraut sandwiches using my homemade sauerkraut. Sort of like a Reuben sandwich minus the meat. Yummy!
    – I refeemed points from surveys for $20 to my paypal account.
    – I used a 30% off code to order a stocking stuffer from
    – I cut some cilantro and chives from my balcony garden
    – I gave my still nursing 1yo some homemade sauerkraut to get probiotics into her after I had to take a course of antibiotics.
    – I made spinach and cheese on toast, mixed plain lentils from the freezer with spicy rice I got free, made pizza from the freezer, made kraft dinner, and ate lots of pb sandwiches during the past week, as both my kids and I caught a particularly nasty virus (not covid) and I wasn’t up to cooking, my DH was out of the country, and my kids didn’t want to eat anyway. Basic but cheaper than takeout! Although I did buy pizza once, which says a lot about how worn out I was, lol.
    – I bought my sister lunch when she came over to help out several times when I was ill. Super inexpensive childcare!
    – made rice krispie squares, but couldn’t find rice krispies so used an inexpensive cereal instead. My kids don’t know the difference anyway!
    – had several picnics outside, just to get fresh air. Pb sandwiches always taste better in the sunshine!

    Not an amazingly frugal week, but we just keep keeping on! Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  35. I don’t always comment but I love reading your posts.

    I’ve made wheat bread and rolls and pumpkin muffins from scratch. I made homemade lasagna, breakfast casserole with the last of our homegrown pork sausage. Dried basil, repotted some herbs. I bought some food items on clearance as well as shopped sales. Brought home an almost full carton of half and half from work that a coworker was going to throw out as it was 3 days from expiration date. We smoked a pork butt. Ate leftovers for lunch. I mended my largest and favorite thermal bag… the zipper came off. I made coleslaw with a discount bag of coleslaw. Showed a local farm stand and bought marked down produce.

  36. Hello All,
    What a beautiful garden party. I loved your recipe in the comments for hibiscus tea. We have hibiscus everywhere here and I dry them regularly. I love all the upcycling of garage sale finds that you did. It looked like a very elegant event.
    Well Mangoes are still everywhere here on Guam. My neighbor has just started putting them in bags and hanging them on my fence. I walk the neighborhood in the morning and the mangoes that have fallen on the street I feed to my chickens. There are literally hundreds in 3 blocks. I freeze them when I don’t have time to make jam and then go back when I have down time and can jam and mango salsa. I also dehydrate them and dip them in chocolate as gifts for friends. Our big frugal win for the week. We poured our own concrete slab. My handyman got a job in the states and all the quotes I found were $1500-$2000. This is a 3ftx16 foot slab. We happen to own a concrete mixer that our handyman had been using to install sidewalks and our fence. So we got down to business and figured out how to use it ourselves. We spent one day cleaning the area, putting down sand, the frame, and mesh. Then Monday we mixed 10 concrete mixers full to lay the first half of the slab. It was hardwork but it looks really nice. We’ll do the other half next weekend. It’s an area under our outdoor stairs and eventually I’m going to turn it into Cat condo’s for my 22 stray rescue cats that live in the neighborhood. We have 60,000 stray cats and dogs on the island and only one shelter. So I rescue, spay, and try to adopt out what we have in our own neighborhood. I hosted book club this week and I usually make a big meal. Instead I did a salad bar with homemade dressings, half the veggies we’re from my garden and piping hot rolls from the oven. I made the rolls big enough that the leftovers we’re used for sandwiches for my husband’s lunch the rest of the week. For dessert I always put out a selection of cookies and chocolates on nice platters. When I have coupons/sale for nice chocolate and European cookies I buy them and put them in the freezer then bring it out for events. Our beautiful red flame trees and bougainvillea’s are blooming I picked blossoms to press for cards and to use on picture frame mats. I then take a nice picture of the tree and put the mat on it as a gift in the frame. My thrift store win this week was a large lodge cast iron frying pan for $2

    1. Natasha Luckett,
      What a deal on the lodge pan! I love mangoes! I bought two for $1.75 each last week, and savored every bite. I’d love a mango tree around here! Mangoes smell so wonderful! I enjoy picturing Guam in my mind.

    2. Bless you for your attempts to help thin the animal population. There is a special place in heaven for you.

    3. I loved the red flame trees on Guam! We had a beautiful plumaria in our front yard on NAS Agana that gave off the most lovely scent when the flowers bloomed. I remember the boonie dogs and cats when we lived there. One night when my husband was deployed I kept getting obscene phone calls. It made me very nervous to know someone knew I was home alone (with my two young kids). I called security, but what was interesting was that when I looked out my window there was a pack of “boonie” (wild) dogs surrounding my house. I felt much better when I saw that. I wanted to adopt them all but, of course, I couldn’t. I think it is so good of you to try to help the homeless animals.

    4. I loved reading of your efforts to help the homeless cats of Guam. We foster kittens until they are adoptable and also catch adult cats in our area which are then neutered or spayed by our local humane society and then we release them. It is always good to hear of others who feel called to do this kind of work. Wishing you much success! The kitties are lucky to have you on their side. 🙂

  37. What a beautiful banquet! Everything looks yummy and displayed in a lovely way.

    We made all our meals at home except for our date night. We used a gift card to pay for our date. Dinners were taco salad, steak and mashed potatoes, baked tacos and eggs & toast. We had leftovers on some nights. My favorite comfort meal is eggs and toast.

    I returned several items to Amazon that didn’t work the way I needed them too. They were bought on clearance or sale, but the returns were free. Dropped the packages when off on an errand to save on gas. Gas is crazy expensive here so I just went to one store for groceries. I got a few clearance items in produce and non grocery. Honestly I find myself staying home more to save on gas money and to not shop randomly on unneeded items. I did buy some capri leggings on sale from Walmart. And I found some tshirts on sale at Amazon. I needed things that didn’t have holes in certain places.

    Exercised at home, read books, worked in the garden, cleaned the house.

    Hope everyone has a good frugal week.

  38. Brandy: the pictures of the Tea were beyond beautiful! The actual Tea itself must have been so special! Have you submitted your work to any publications? I feel certain others would love them as much as we all do.

    Grilled ribs with lots of sides and made pralines for dessert for the holiday.

    Made Marinara sauce from scratch with tomatoes I had put up last year.

    Picked squash, green pepper, and Romaine from the garden. Pulled up the Wando Peas I had planted. Beautiful plants—no peas,

    Sprayed the perimeter of my house for roaches. Roaches love the South! Constant battle!

    Bought some wool dryer balls and used them for the first time. Love them! Wish I had done this long ago!

    God bless our fallen soldiers. Onward, ya’ll, by all means!

  39. I don’t think you got this post because my finger hit the edge of a key and it disappeared. Here goes again!
    Bellissima! Your refreshments are works of art by themselves. Everything was so elegant.

    Your garden is looking superb! After all that hard work, you must be so gratified!

    I was really happy because my plum tree survived. It is just slow in blooming. The other one bloomed 3 weeks ago.My Evans cherry (sour cherry). is in bloom and looks lovely.

    As I’ve been ill, I haven’t bought or saved anything. I enjoyed watching My BigFarm Family (free).

    I was given some Ghiardelli hot chocolate mix but it is cross-contaminated so I’ll give it to a friend.

    I’ve enjoyed seeing butterflies. TheSwallowtails have hatched.

    The footnotes in the book got messed up so I am straightening them up — fixing them is tedious.

    I can hardly wait until it goes to the printer — then I’ll be free to do housework and what gardening I can manage.

  40. Your event sounds lovely!!
    .. I made homemade cupcakes and frosting.
    .. My friend told me she was on a trip with her husband for work and going antiquing – I asked is she would mind keeping an eye out for old tea cups with saucers. We texted back and forth 2 days and she found plenty of options! I okayed the price and which ones. We both fully enjoyed the experience 😉 I have wanted to go thrifting by myself for awhile now, but had not. It is a surprise for my children — they will each have a special tea cup just for them. I have a vision of afternoon teas (including iced!) while doing read alouds; a homeschool mom’s vision 😉 My friend loved the idea and mentioned she wanted to do it also.
    .. I used Raukuten for online purchases. I also received a payment recently and went straight to debt snowball.
    .. We made Sun Tea – the first of the year- using a glass gallon jar we saved from apple cider. I added fresh mint from the garden and lemon juice to mine, and my husband snuck in some fresh strawberries , delicious!
    .. I started work as a Virtual Assistant and I am very thankful !
    .. Our elderly neighbor gift me fresh cut flowers and some money for a Mother’s Day gift (we help her with yardwork, without expectation), I used it to buy a new pair of tennis shoes for myself.
    ..I pulled out my fridge, unscrewed the back and vacuumed and dusted — I had not done this in much too long, but we have learned cleaning lengthens the time our appliance last us.
    .. I learned to use my husband’s grill! – we grilled several times this last week so he could teach me, but also kept from heating the kitchen, and also ate better honestly! Our children enjoyed the grilled vegetables. A nice change of the menu.

  41. Brandy, your garden party looks amazing!

    I haven’t posted in a couple weeks but here are the frugal highlights:
    We wanted to add 6 arborvitaes to our property but the ones we originally wanted were $70 each. We decided to get much shorter ones for only $20 each. And an added bonus this greenhouse had vegetable flats for much cheaper than I usually find them so I picked up all my tomatoes and peppers from them too.

    I have been making meals at home and only buying a limited amount of groceries. Prices at the grocery store are sky rocketing here so we are doing our best to not waste. We have had a lot of dinner invitations from our parents lately and we have gratefully accepted each one. I started harvesting lettuce, spinach, and radishes from my garden.

    Tried a new clothing store with my mom one day. She was looking for a dress and I was just tagging along but I found a really cute sweatshirt reg $35 on clearance for $5.

    Have a great week everyone!

  42. Brandy,
    Your garden party decorations and food look amazing! And on a budget, that is great!
    It has been a nice frugal week. We went grocery shopping and got great deals on produce. Well, on vegetables anyway. Fruit on the other hand cost quite a bit more. I actually stayed home many days this week trying to reduce the amount I spend on gas. My husband and I have been practicing the ukulele some evenings and one evening he got out the banjo. We have been watching you-tube videos that have tutorials for both the banjo and the ukulele. It has been fun!
    We got okra seeds in the ground. I ate a sweet pea from our garden. There are more to pick. I love harvesting veggies! A couple strawberries have ripened as well.
    I enjoyed looking at wildlife and birds this week. My son picked a wildflower almost every day and put it on the kitchen table for me! I thought that was sweet. I enjoyed listening to my sons poetry. I also enjoyed talking to family on the phone.

  43. I love your party teas, table set up, garden location and the way you served the food. Those lemon meringues have inspired me to make some and serve with lemon curd and berries. Yum!

    I purchased large pudding steam bowls with lid for $1 and large Christmas themed cake/muffin baking trays for $1, both on clearance. I got four of each item. I will gift both items together as Christmas gifts to those who enjoy cooking. A total of $2 per gift!

    I purchased a medium sized wooden sorting toy that came boxed, on clearance for $1 at Target. I will gift it at an upcoming baby shower I was invited to.

    We continued to eat leftovers from what I made last week, fish we caught, harvested fruit and vegetables and used lots of sweet potato to get through it all. I made almond macaroons and strawberry tart/pie.

    I applied for jobs and will continue to do so.

    I did some decluttering in the garage and got through over half of it.

    I sold an item for $6 that I was going to throw out.

    I sold a large Lego set I bought on clearance (for $78) for $160.

    I listed more items for sale.

    I donated some clothes and toys to a friend.

    Have a lovely week.

  44. Such a pretty table scape. I am sure the young ladies left feeling treasured.

    As for saving money I have spent a little less this last fortnight so that is great. I have told my mother that we arresting more grains and pulses to stretch our meat. I found some fish marled sown significantly. So it was brought with plans on how to use it.

  45. Everything looks so beautiful. You must have had a lovely day with all of the young ladies.
    College move out is done. Now onto listing and selling things. I washed all of the clothes, towels and sheets. My daughter took 18 clothes items to keep. I have a bag of items for my oldest daughter to look through next time we see her. Hubby, my son and I all took a few items too. Free shopping is my favorite. I separated the clothes into donate and sell piles. The donate pile was dropped off at the church as were several pots and pans.
    The garden is in. I still have lots of pots to plant but the main garden beds are in. I grew everything from seed.
    We have been picking lots of strawberries this week. Milkshakes were made. They are so yummy with fresh strawberries. I also made waffles topped with them. We have been eating them fresh too. I did manage to freeze a quart bag of them for use later. I picked our first lettuce too.
    It was my birthday so I have been using lots of birthday freebies, Carvel, Baskin Robins, Chik fil A, Kohl’s, and Starbucks. I still have to use a few more. Hubby came with me to Chick fil A and I used rewards that I earned when I go with D so our lunch was free.
    Hubby was on vacation last week. He did lots of projects that were on his list.
    We had friend’s over for a BBQ. Hubby smoked ribs and a chicken. Both were bought on sale. I made a chick pea salad and corn. They brought margarita mix (a fun surprise) and cookies.
    My son volunteered to work Memorial Day so he will get paid double time.
    My sister dropped her dog off and treated us to take out for my birthday. She also brought a cake. Everything was delicious.
    We haven’t turned on the AC yet. All laundry is done on the short cold cycle. All laundry is hung outside or on racks. We have had rain several days so watering the garden has been easy.
    I received lots of gift cards and useful gifts for my birthday. Hubby and the kids cooked me breakfast and dinner.
    Finally got a medical bill fixed. Insurance said they paid it. Doctor said they didn’t get it. They did. They credited someone else.

  46. Brandy, loved seeing the pics of the garden party and your explanation of what you made and what you used. Fun to be had very reasonably.

    -Picking asparagus, chives, and rhubarb from the garden.
    -More canning-8 half pints of rhubarb orange marmalade. Dehydrated the chives.
    -Read the last book of the blessing series by Lauraine Snelling, checked out from the library (published 2020 and the very last book). This is a series of many books about immigrating from Norway, homesteading, and building a town in Blessing, ND. Very entertaining and fun!
    -I was finally able to plant my tomato, pepper, and basil plants. We did have a light frost on the night of the 22nd so I had to wait. So all of the garden is in, potatoes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, and radishes pushing through.
    -Working on cleaning out my sewing closet. (My sewing area is in the closet of the guest room-I have a 4 foot table for my sewing and serger machines with shelves on either ends for storage. I am trying to sew each day 15 minutes. I am trying to make homemade gifts for birthdays.
    -We want to our daughter’s house near Green Bay, WI for 5 days over Memorial Day weekend. Only cost was gas-$120 round trip. We took a small cooler for lunch each way (7 hour trip). We got to see grandkids ball games, we grilled, played cards and board games, watched a couple of movies, and just visited. The guys went fishing on Saturday and Sunday in the evening and brought home a meal of fish. We had a great time and it was nice to get away.
    -This week is a stay home week-we will be weeding the garden as all seeds have sprouted, plus we had ugly weather and have branches and a tree down that will need to be cleaned up and the wood cut for fuel.

    Have a great week!

  47. The tea looks wonderful. It’s amazing how many pretty things one can find at yard sales and thrift/junk shops if one looks, and it was nice of your mother to loan some of her things. I well remember a church member loaning me her Waterford crystal punch bowl and cups for one of my daughter’s weddings. It was gorgeous and added such beauty to the table. I was super cautious with it, as you can imagine.

    This week I’m using some leftover wood for a project I have in mind. If all goes well, I’ll end up with a big planter box.

    I had a sweet potato that started to sprout, so I planted it. We’ll see what it does.

    I moved my one remaining garlic chive plant from its container to my herb bed, and it seems to like it there. It wasn’t too happy in the container this past year. I moved the oregano out of a container into the bed and it seems to be much happier as well.

    I hung out all my laundry this weekend, and managed to rescue the last load before a huge storm hit. I finished drying that load on a rack inside.

    I found a big garden tote that I’d forgotten about, and used it to hold the fish tank’s “dirty” water as I changed it out for fresh. I ran a pipe from the tank to the tote. I’ll use this water to hand water plants.

    I made two gallons of tea for kombucha by using the full amount of tea leaves to make the first gallon, then using the used leaves plus half again of fresh leaves for the second gallon. It works well.

    And of course I do the usual things such as cooking at home, batching errands, taking leftovers for lunch at work, wearing used, hanging laundry to dry, and not wasting food.

  48. Lovely set up. We commonly use our punch bowls for potato chips or tortilla chips and the punch glasses for the guest to put their dips in.
    We finally got the last of the potatoes in our potato boxes… our dog Charlotte decide the box made a good bed. Thankful she isn’t much of a digger and the plants aren’t up.
    Mint, strawberries, rhubarb, scallions, spinach, lettuce, radishes and a few cherry tomatoes found their way to the table for meals. We ate from the pantry all week.
    Blessed Be everyone

  49. This is less about my saving money and more about sharing the wealth. I’m always reading about how in big cities the residents put unwanted items on the curbs for someone else to claim. I think it’s a fantastic idea as the Buy Nothing groups have never worked for me and I’m forever done with garage sales.

    I’m in the suburbs of So Cal and I have never seen it done here, plus I live in a retirement community with an eagle eyed HOA. But I had a quite nice surplus bookcase that I just didn’t want to haul to the thrift store. I put it in the driveway with a FREE sign on it and it was gone in a few hours.

    Today I’m going to put out a wooden planter and hope someone takes it home.

    1. I too live in a retirement community in S Cal with an HOA with lots of rules. However when we lived in Atlanta anything put out on the curb was taken within hours which made it easy to send things to a new home. Here I find it hard to get rid of useful things sadly.

    2. In the cities I’ve lived in, it has been very usual to do this, but not in the small rural town I live in. I still do that from time to time though, and everything disappears very quickly. Our landfill also has leave for free shed where a lot of people take things, though it isn’t practical for me to get things to. For things that will appeal to more specific people, I post them on our local Facebook page. Last time, it was some canned cat food. (My kitty is a dedicated dry food girl. She had it softened with water when she had some dental surgery.)

  50. It was a great, frugal week in Houston!
    I loaded our garage sale kayaks in the trusty old minivan to use on the lake at my parents’ ranch. It was fun! The kids had never been on a kayak before, and I was able to leave the baby up at the house. The kids always have a blast when we go up there: riding four wheelers, shooting bb guns, and my dad even cleaned and grilled the fish they caught, which were really pretty small, usually we throw them back. He also grilled some marked down Hebrew National beef hot dogs at the same time. I usually buy the cheap kind, but these were good.
    I bought a flute for my daughter to use in middle school band next year, from a student who wasn’t planning to continue to do band in high school. This saved us several hundred dollars over buying new. I also did the same with some uniforms for my kids for next year.
    I paid a crew to trim the trees ($$$), but this is something I can’t do myself. I paid in cash to get a better price, and remembered enough of my high school Spanish to communicate with the foreman.
    My great aunt wanted some kids for her out-of-town great grandchildren to play with, so she invited my kids over for a catered pool party. She ordered beef fajitas from a local Mexican restaurant, which was quite the treat! All of the kids had fun swimming and playing with each other, I helped her clean up afterwards, and it was a win-win for all.
    I returned a couple of shirts to Goodwill that were too small for my kids.
    I sold a basket of clothes at the consignment store, and several things on Facebook Marketplace. This is my “side hustle.”
    I picked up a $20 great condition Craftsman lawn mower from a garage sale, from someone who started to hire it out. Now, I can have two children mowing at the same time, and/or a backup in case the other one quits on me.
    Pasta is on sale 3#/$1 starting tomorrow at Joe V’s, a local discount version of HEB. I already have quite a bit, but the kids love it, so I may buy more. They only have limited varieties, but hooray for not being picky with pasta!
    I passed on the swim team bathing suits; my kids will just wear suits they already have, even if they don’t match the rest of the team.
    We walked to our neighborhood pool with friends to save gas.
    We were invited to pick corn this week. It’s not really frugal, but the kids will have fun. Corn is currently 7 ears for $1 at Joe V’s (no limit), so we would have to pick a lot of the friend’s free corn to balance out the gas money. Oh well. I think we put up about 125 ears (frozen) when we went last summer. I wish I had a pressure canner, but I only have a water bath canner. I know some people make corn cobb jelly, but I’ve never tried this. I start teaching a summer class next week, so there’s probably not enough time. I do feel like there is benefit to the kids seeing where our food comes from.
    My friend gave me a package of size 2 diapers that will fit my baby soon.
    Hope everyone has a great, frugal week!

  51. Hello, frugal friends! Here in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains summer has arrived. My garden was well watered thanks to mother nature last week so some things are looking good. Unfortunately, some things are struggling. I had to replant the squash again. I ended up buying a couple of zucchini plants at Lowes, but they were half price plus military discount so that took some of the sting out of the purchase. I think I am the only person who struggles to grow zucchini.
    In frugal ways:
    *I found a few markdowns at the grocery store: small sour cream .50, cheese sticks 1.99/package of 12. I bought 2. Froze 1 for our trips this summer with the grandkids and the other is for snacks for the grands when they are here. They had gallons of skim milk for 2.69/gallon. I bought a gallon and have frozen half. My goal is not to go to the store the month of June. I will go to the farmers market for fruit if necessary. Kroger also had pre-shredded cabbage mix on sale for .99/bag. When I got to the store they were further discounted to .79/bag with a very long use by date. I bought 5 bags and made 10 pints freezer cole slaw. I am trying to add something to my pantry every week.
    *Our DIL bought some sale pork butt and shared some with us. I was able to freeze 3 pint bags of cooked pork bbq. She also gave me a half bag of corn tortillas they would not use. I froze them.
    *I transplanted some lettuce seedlings into areas of my garden. These are from seeds I planted in the deck boxes. They are doing so much better than the ones in my garden.
    *I had .30/gallon off of gas which I used to fill up my car. As we had company last week the car needed to be refilled again yesterday and we found a station selling gas for $4.09/gallon. Did I ever think $4.09/gallon would be a “deal?” Crazy!
    *I bought 2 Father’s Day cards at “Once Upon a Dollar Tree.” Cost: .50/card.
    *I asked my local library to purchase The Little Wartime Library book which was recommended on this site. They called to say the new purchase was ready for me to check out, which I did. I can’t wait to start it.
    *Our electric bill was $24 less for May. I think the solar charger is really helping.
    *As I mentioned above, we had out of town company last week for five days. We used military discounts whenever we could. Our friends treated us to lunch and dinner. Leftovers were eaten for lunch and dinner after they left. We went to the Downton Abby movie matinee. No one wanted food or drinks. On our way home from dinner at Mountain Lake (where most of the original Dirty Dancing movie was filmed) we saw a mama bear and her three cubs crossing the road! It was so cool. I made brownies using pumpkin puree from my garden pumpkins instead of oil. Any meals eaten here at home were made with ingredients I had on hand. We had a great time with our friends from out of state.
    *We used military discount plus sales when buying a new mattress this past weekend. We also used military discount at Lowes.
    *We wanted to buy our DIL a special birthday gift. We budgeted $100 as she does so much for us and others. My son and DIL bought their first house in November. It has a huge deck but no furniture. We knew she wanted something to sit on out there. Big Lots was having a sale on their patio furniture-50% off. We bought them four stackable outdoor chairs, two small side tables, cushions and two decorative pillows for $90! They were all 50% off plus I had a $10 coupon plus our military 10% off. If we had tried to buy them without the sale and discounts the cost would have been over $280! Our son and family went out of town this weekend so my husband and I set everything up on their deck and wrapped a few large bows around the chairs. When they got home our DIL was thrilled and surprised. It made me so happy.
    I wish everyone a happy week of fun and frugal activities.

  52. Your garden party looks so pretty. I know the young ladies will treasure the memory and remake themselves some day. We have had a lot of rain last week, good for our gardens. We have some baby tomatoes, squash, and pepper blooms. I got engaged over the weekend, I am looking at a fall/winter wedding. Any ideas?

    1. Congratulations!

      Have you made a Pinterest board? I would start looking there.

  53. I had a great week last week. I repotted two of the free tomato plants I’d received (need more soil and more buckets to plant the other two) and then transplanted several things to the herb bed, adding in a healthy dose of basil seed. I sowed flower seeds, planted a sweet potato end that had sprouted hoping for a vine to grow from it, and freshened up several of my flower beds by arranging pots in empty places to add interest. I bought no groceries all week long and saved that money. I freshened two old wreaths to use at my doors. I worked on my porches and am now ready to start cleaning and painting. I made all our meals at home, nothing unusual in that. I stayed busy all week long and was more than happy to have my sabbath rest, lol!

  54. Thank you for teaching us to live so beautifully and gracefully all while being so frugal. I was telling somebody about you and your blog and your situation many years ago when the housing market fell so badly. I think the nicest thing about your blog besides learning so much from you and others is the encouragement.

    It’s been a crazy busy time and I find myself not stocking up on food as much because it’s either so overpriced and/or such bad quality. We’ve been trying to focus on gardening. I’ve been gardening for a little while now and I’m pretty terrible at it. My husband has a beautiful garden. I was thinking the other day that if I fail completely (which I won’t…I have some successes and am learning an awful lot!) that I could have more time consuming hobbies that just waste money. I AM learning a lot each year. We do have over 200 potato plants up. (I thought I had lost several to a freeze so I plant some more. Oops.)

    We happen to have loads of eggs right now. Way more than we can use (although we did lose some chickens recently.) I’ve been water glassing them and stuffing them into the fridge etc. We should probably sell or share some. The other night I was making tacos. I already stretch them a lot with beans etc but the other day I realized I should add eggs too and actually I don’t have a ton of greens from the garden but I have enough that I could add them too. (Nobody knew really. I think the eggs would have bothered them more than the greens but they mixed in pretty well. I put them in when the pan was cold and stirred a lot.) It was a little tiresome because I had so much filling that when I fried them it got a little old. Now we have leftovers at least. I love leftovers to feed my crew.

    God bless and keep you all. I do enjoy reading the comments.

  55. p.s. Oh yes. We pay off our last house payment on our 31 wedding anniversary. I’m so excited. I’m glad we bought our acreage before when prices and interest rates weren’t so high. Our neighbor’s small acreage just sold for $500,000. I remember living in Great Falls, VA 33 years ago and telling somebody that they people were rich…all of the houses were worth at least $500,000 lol. Oh yeah…average now is $2.7 million I think. Wow.

  56. What a beautiful tablescape!!! It’s so inspiring and makes me want to entertain. It’s such a testimony to hosting on a budget. Thank you for sharing.

    1. My goodness, Brandy, you have an incredible gift for lovely. That isn’t grammatically correct but it seems so fitting. You make things lovely all around you and your family!
      *I have been very mindful of no excess driving, so that means staying out of stores, including grocery stores. This week I found some marked down produce and organic chicken sausages. The bananas got made into skinny monkey cookies, and I made croutons at the same time, along with mac and cheese. Someone gave me 4 gallons of expired milk and I made lots of mac and cheese and I plan to make yogurt this week.
      * We have been eating lettuce, radishes, kale, beets, strawberries ,purslane and lambs quarter for the garden. I made a week’s worth of smoothies with strawberry tops, purslane, kale, beet greens, bananas and blackberries. They are super healthy and I am used to that taste. The purslane and lamb’s quarters are volunteers and I have transplanted some between other plants and they are thriving. I got my cukes planted and more seeds are emerging. I have resorted to trying bush beans in hope they make it.
      * The weather has been mid 90’s this week and we have managed so far with ceiling and the house fan at night. It is supposed to cool down late week and that will be a blessing.
      * Families I work for have a pool and I get to swim with the kiddos I nanny, it is glorious. I love swimming and it sure helps with the hot days where I couldn’t drag the kids outside otherwise!
      Thanks for this wonderful place to read, learn from and be encouraged! What a blessing in the midst of so much turmoil and sadness!

  57. The many shades and shadows of color in the Pandora Poppy photo fascinate me! I have read that the lines in a flower are designed to direct pollinators where to go to the center of the flower, sort of like the mysterious lines for airplanes to taxi around an airport and get to the right gates.
    Partly based on your examples, (thank you very much!), I have made a point to pick flowers to appreciate inside my house this spring. The giant purple irises, with interesting lines on the petals and a strong scent, are currently in my yard sale vases.
    My money saving has been largely repetitive moves: combining errands, shopping for food bargains and then incorporating them into meals, stocking up on sale items we know we will use, keeping the fans running and AC off when possible, recycling and thus having less trash. My husband has worked out a daily stretching routine for himself that lasts one episode of the old-time radio shows he likes to listen to online. I made a yellow cake mix and added cocoa powder to half the batter to make marble-swirl cupcakes.
    I am working very hard at not scratching my poison ivy and only put band aids on the ugly parts when I go out in public. I swapped out the ancient band aids from the car first aid kit and my purse for fresh ones. I will undoubtedly never need them, unless I don’t have them, if you follow.
    Very fortunate to have had enough rain that I don’t need to water my garden. I do not take plentiful water for granted.

    1. Oh, dear! I’m so sorry you ended up with a poison ivy rash! If you are not sensitive to aluminum, try putting secret deodorant on the rash to dry it out quicker. Another option (that dries slower but is gentler for sensitive skin) is white toothpaste, any brand.

  58. Beautiful photos!
    ***We visited my son and DIL in Pennsylvania. We had credit card points to pay for our tickets ( 13 hours each way to drive.) My husband put a tracker on the tickets when we began looking and they went down $169 each so he bought them. They increased $100 the next day and went up $289 each a couple of weeks later. My son has a hybrid car which has been a great investment. He gets about 45 MPG. We went to New York City one day. We walked 8.6 miles, even with using the subway some. One day we went to Lancaster to visit the Amish community. Gas was $.40 cheaper there se we filled his gas tank. We treated them in NYC to a hot dog and Krispy Kreme, and a meal in Lancaster.
    *** I got more squash, zucchini, okra, green beans, and pepper plants put in the ground. We had to turn on the sprinklers while away as we have not had rain this week and it is in the 90s.
    ***I used some cooked chicken I had frozen with a box of Stove Top I got on clearance at Aldi for $.49, and a can of mixed vegetables and cream of mushroom soup. I then poured the half can of broth I had in the refrigerator and baked.
    ***I have frozen individual portions of lasagna that I have used for two lunches.
    ***My freezers are still stuffed and produce will soon be coming in so I am trying to pull something daily to use up.

  59. Hot read for the summer per my Librarians: The Maid by Nita Prose. So far, I’m in agreement!

    1. I just read that and it was eye opening to really look at how marginalized low income workers are.

      I also read The Sisters of Auschwitz by Roxanne van Iperen. A story of two sisters in the Dutch resistance during WWII. The english translation is a bit formal at times, but the story itself is very riveting.

  60. – The summer schedules for all of the local free fitness classes have been released (our 2 local health insurance companies both sponsor multiple classes). There are so many this year that there are 1-3 different classes every day of the week. I went to Fusion Fitness (a HIIT style class) with a friend last night. Free fitness and free socializing!
    – I used the FlashFood app for a second time. I got 3 different bags of greens – kale ($1.52 from $3.79), baby spinach ($1.88 from $4.69), and a blended salad mix ($1.88 from $4.69) as well as a frozen mac and cheese dinner ($2.00 from $4.99). I also had a $5 credit on my account, so I only paid a little over $2 for the whole order. The kale will go in the freezer for smoothies, the spinach will get added to my rice and beans dinner I had planned for tonight, the blended salad mix will be use for lunches for the next few days, and the mac and cheese I like to have on hand when I am craving unhealthy take-out.
    – I’ve had my eye on a manicure kit because having my nails done keeps me from chewing my cuticles (which sometimes get so bad that they get infected) and I don’t like paying for professional manicures and today I found a 30% off coupon, so I ordered that.
    – My dad’s Father’s Day gift will consist of an antique rag rug shuttle that I purchased from ebay and a small sample rug that his late mother wove that his cousin is mailing to me. He is going to be so pleased as he has recently been telling stories about remembering his mom sitting at her loom, throwing the shuttle back and forth, weaving rugs for neighbors. They’d drop their scraps off on her porch and she’d charge by the length of the rug that she wove for them. No one in the family knows what happened to the loom or her supplies, but my dad mentioned that he’d love to have a shuttle.
    – I purchased a sewing machine a few months ago and have been learning how to use it so I can mend and alter my clothing. I’d told a friend about it and she has a jumpsuit that she is wearing for a wedding in a few weeks and the hem has fallen. She asked if I could use my new skills to repair it and I agreed to check it out, so she’ll be coming over Friday. It will be nice to spend some time with her, and to use my new skills to help others!

  61. It was a party kind of a week! Your decor and food are just lovely. You have such a restful, elegant style. I’m sure the church ladies were delighted to get invited. It’s so nice that things are going on again after such a hiatus from Covid and makes the fellowship seem sweeter, I’m sure.

    We hosted an open-house graduation party for our youngest. She wanted tea party theme, so I also got to use many of my fancy dishes this week. I set it up buffet-style, on our one-and-only table that we eat on, as the weather did not cooperate and it rained. On holidays, we set an extra table in our daughter’s bedroom and one in front of the fireplace in the living room. That was not an option this time. We had no way of actually knowing how many would show up and we have a very small house–about 1,100 square feet. 40-50 flowed through, and although it was almost maxed out at times, it worked.

    I cooked multitudes of fancy finger foods and my Mom, aunt, and sisters all brought goodies, as well. The relatives, including my brother-in-law all pitched in to wash all those fancy dishes and set them back out for re-use as people came and went. Then, some stayed until the bitter end, and we got it all put away so we could by ready for Sunday and normal life!

    Although entertaining is not inexpensive, we kept the cost down in several ways. First, I used real dishes and tablecloths, not paper. I used flowers from my yard, my aunt’s yard and a niece brought a bouquet for the mantle. The only purchased flowers were one bunch of baby’s breath to fill in a little around the other flowers. We had so many flowers that I’ve been sneezing all week, and finally put the remaining flowers outside, but they were worth it! I used cups, goblets/dessert dishes, and vases to put them in. I purchased most foods ahead of time over the past few weeks as they came on sale. I cooked the food from scratch and didn’t buy frozen appetizers, etc. I accepted any fancy foods my relatives wanted to make. (They were awesome, by the way) I shopped multiple stores in my area to get the best deals on those foods I cooked with. I got many packages of fancy, assorted cheeses from a “scratch and dent” type store for anywhere from 99c -$1.49/package, instead of the $5-6/package price my daughter just paid for the party she catered a few weeks ago. I also used Tillamook cheddar and pepper jack, purchased on sale a few weeks ago to round them out. I used herbs from my garden. I used frozen lemonade with some of my garden strawberries, pureed in a blender, stirred in and just a few fresh ones on top for punch. I served tea, coffee and water as well. The chocolate mousse I made was not inexpensive–and it was stressful to me, wondering if the cream would whip, if the egg whites would peak, if the chocolate would seize, if it would fold together without collapsing, or any of the other dire consequences that were laid out if I did it wrong…..but none of that happened and they were just about the most popular item. I will do that recipe again someday. I wanted different heights and shapes of dishes on the table, and was looking for something to make to put in my tiny dessert glasses. I used several tools purchased over the years at yard sales to pipe mousse, whipped cream, and toppings onto things. I used my cookie gun to make spritz cookies with pink and purple sugar on them for another festive tiny treat. I used Easter Cadbury eggs as they were pastel. I candied nuts from our freezer we bought from a farmer a couple of years ago….and so on.

    We didn’t buy many groceries this month, other than party food, but instead ate from our deep food pantry and freezers, and were able to just slide the party into our regular grocery budget. I was super happy that I only went over a very few dollars and that will be made up this month, easily. Pictures are on my blog:

    I cooked chicken and made broth from the bones, twice. I pulled many veggies, fruits and meats from the freezers and pantries and made meals. We had broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans from last summer’s preserving. After a couple of days of eating leftover party food, I made a large batch of chili-mac and we ate that for 2 days–the farthest thing from rich party food I could think of:).

    I spent hours in the garden and yard, both getting things shaped up for the party (and then it rained, but it looks great for me to admire!), and doing garden maintenance that needed to be done. Every evening this week, I’ve been able to get out there and weed a couple of rows, or some berries, etc., or plant a few more seeds or plants. I love this time of year.

    1. Becky, I was all set to ask you for the chocolate mousse recipe until you listed all the things that could go wrong. LOLOLOLOL

  62. What a lovely table! I’m sure the young ladies in your church appreciated your efforts. Decorating and hosting are not my skills, I”m always in awe of people who envision and “see” things like that.
    Last week was our first week of summer break. We spent a lot of time cleaning and sorting. I have so much more to do.
    My mom sent me a very generous check for my upcoming birthday. She told me she wanted me to get one of two things….either a large deck box to store my patio cushions, or a metal raised bed (when she visited in April, I showed her the Birdie’s Beds I liked). I was able to use rewards combined with Memorial Day sales to get a deck box and 2 raised beds with the money.
    We enjoyed our 24th anniversary last week. Instead of going out to eat, we cooked a wonderful meal at home and enjoyed it with our kids.
    Lots of goodness from the garden — lettuce, rhubarb, green onions, and garlic scapes. I planted out tons of tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, and cucumbers. I wanted more petunias for some baskets out front, but instead of buying more, I scavenged some from the baskets I already arranged. It will take a couple of weeks for them to fill back in, but I had enough plants to go ’round. Funny, I found a bunch of lettuce seedlings thriving in one of the pots with the petunias. Don’t even remember seeding them there, but maybe I did, thinking I would transplant later. Anyway, it actually looked really nice. I replanted them to a bigger pot, but I may start a couple of hanging baskets of lettuce soon!

  63. I’m in awe of all that you do and are able to accomplish. Not only the sheer amount of what you’re able to do but on a budget as well! I wish I had your drive and energy! While I am not that great of a thrifter I try to not waste what I have and I try to save a bit of money where I can. Today I purchased 5 boxes of life cereal from Kroger which is a cereal that we tend to have on hand for $1.27 each and then was able to get $1 per box back in rewards on my ibotta account. I paid $6.35 and received $5 in ibotta rewards which means I paid out of pocket $1.35 for 5 boxes. Yay! We also are clearing out some of our overgrown plants that have spread and sold a small portion for $50 over the weekend on one of my facebook groups.

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