Dorsett Golden Apple Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

Spring is here.  My Dorsett Golden apple tree, the first to blossom in the garden, is in full bloom.

Manure spreader

I bought manure for the garden at the nursery, using a $10 off $50 coupon at the nursery, plus a gift card (many thanks to the anonymous reader who surprised me with that!) We’ve found that manure greens up the grass faster than chemical nitrogen fertilizers, and that the results last much longer. Plus, we are making a better soil in the process. I used the manure spreader my husband bought used years ago for very little (a piece was broken and he made a new one for it) to spread the manure over the grass, and then I raked it in. 

I also bought tomato plants. I decided to get the small plants this year. I bought two Yellow Pear plants, and three Early Girl plants. Each one of the Early Girl plants has two in the pot, so I will carefully separate them.

I fertilized my potted orange trees using fertilizer I had (bone meal, blood meal, and soil sulpher) and added some manure to the top of the pots.

Katy Apricot Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

I enjoyed listening to the birdsong this week. I love the birdsong in the spring; it is one of my favorite things about the season. 

I enjoyed the simple pleasure of pushing the girls on the swings in the backyard.

I harvested lettuce, green onions, Swiss chard, dill, oregano, garlic chives, and broccoli from the garden.

I made balsamic orange vinaigrette for our salads.

Lemongrass The Prudent Homemaker

My lemongrass plant was needing to be thinned and moved. My husband and I cut it down and pulled it out. I replanted several parts of it, and I harvested a bunch, too. I will dry some of this as well as using it fresh.

I planted more seeds in the garden.

Dorsett Golden Apple Blossom Buds The Prudent Homemaker

I downloaded a free Kindle version of a children’s book. I don’t have a Kindle, but I can read it on my computer.

I watched some shows for free on Hulu.

My husband ran a trip for me to Winco this week on his way home. While he was there, he found potatoes for .20 a pound, and he bought 60 pounds. 

Primroses The Prudent Homemaker

The primroses I planted last year in a shaded location near my front door have blossomed again. I love these early bloomers. The flowers last a long time in the garden.

Valentines The Prudent Homemaker

On Valentine’s Day, I made some chocolates for the children using a mold I had on hand (purchased years ago at The Dollar Tree) and some chocolate melts I had. I put the chocolates in these gift envelopes that I printed. The children made me some homemade Valentines.

I cut some euyonomous branches from the garden and brought them in to enjoy.

Summer Snowdrop The Prudent Homemaker

 What did you do to save money last week? Did you enjoy any simple pleasures?

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  1. – Completed a survey to get a free year subscription to Martha Stewart Living
    – Got 5 one pound boxes of pasta for $0.29 each
    – Used coupons and extra bucks to get glide deep clean floss for $1.17. It is expensive floss, and of course it’s the only kind husband can use.
    – Got a truck load of free wood from a local church. This should be enough wood to get us through the rest of the winter. They also offered to bring another truck load next month (they only do it once a month). I almost cried when they were unloading it. Our dwindling wood pile has been a huge stress to me.
    – Used red and silver Kisses from the bags of Kisses I got on clearance after Christmas to make up some Valentine’s treats for the children I watch. Now I am left with green Kisses, which will be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day

  2. My family came to stay this weekend. They brought their CSA box & gave us a lot of the contents. There must be five pounds of citrus. There were also 6 eggs. As a hostess gift, they brought yummy chocolates & a bottle of red wine! We will have a Valentine’s dinner tonight. I will be going to Costco today to pick up salmon for dinner, which my parents will pay for. My mom is also going to bring the salad and a vegetable.

  3. I have enjoyed my apple tree, 2 peach trees and nectarine all blossom their beautiful pink flowers.
    I took the kids swimming at a free pool because the weather was so nice (central coast of CA)
    I had both my boys birthday parties at home. My 6 year old had a few friends over. He requested a banana cake. I read online that you can add a box of pudding mix to a cake mix along with an extra egg. I added banana pudding to vanilla cake mix. It turned out so good! All the guests commented on how good it was. Our very mature orange tree has been heavy with delicious oranges, which we will be able to pick over the next 6 months and enjoy.
    I picked up a new 1 – day -a – month job that, even after paying for child care, will bring home enough money to make it worth my while.

  4. The most important thing I did was to re-read your story of income loss and used it to help me start planning for our [u]possible[/u] loss of hubby’s income. The only difference, his may be permanent job loss due to ongoing health issues. We will find out in a few weeks if his company decides to keep him or let him go due to a medical issue. (don’t get me started on the lack of compassion they are showing). Got potatoes for 40 cents a lb (good for this area), using our fireplace to help keep the main areas of the house warm as its in the teens today. Today I am taking an inventory of all our food and HBA stockpile, and may make a large purchase of items – just in case. Thank you so much for sharing your story….it has been a huge blessing!

  5. How cruel of you to show me those pictures of blossoms and green grass while our high temperature
    today in central PA is 0 (after a low of -10) and I can’t see the tops of my raised beds! LOL Just kidding! I love your beautiful pictures and I know spring is on the way. Things could be worse–I could be living in New England. While writing this I have a big pot of potato soup bubbling away for lunch. A yummy lunch and using up potatoes that were starting to go bad. Have a wonderful–and warm–week everyone!

  6. I am watching the buds on our trees closely, and praying they don’t open, because it’s far too soon for here. We’ll still have more wintry weather…in fact, it’s supposed to snow tomorrow. Hopefully it’s getting cold enough at night to keep the buds tight on our fruit trees. 🙂

    My frugal accomplishments and menu are posted here:

  7. I made my two-week meal plan and I always check what I have on hand to make meals. I did not need many items from the store, so I was able to save back half of the grocery budget. I am going to use it to watch for stock-up prices on items we use all the time. It has taken me awhile to get to this point, but I have building my stockpile a little at a time each week. I also did not run as many errands to stores over the last two months as a test to see if I stay home and only venture out when I truly need items if I can save money…. yep, that really does work! Amazing how much money can be spent on impulse shopping and non-sale items. Yikes! I am super proud of my progress so far in the new year. I also made several items from scratch that I normally would buy pre-made or processed, but we are determined to change how and what we eat. I found that I enjoyed the process of cooking from scratch and the meal did taste a gazillion times better. Another goal for this year for me — a small container garden…. I can do this!!!

  8. Happy Frugal Accomplishments Day! It gives me hope seeing Spring in your area. Hopefully, eventually, Spring will make it’s way towards me 🙂
    Last week:
    I FINALLY convinced my husband to cancel Dish Network!!! YAY!! I am so happy! I reactivated my Netflix account ($8 a month vs. $80) and he was amazed at the amount of shows available between that and my Amazon Prime membership. I refrained from saying “I told you so” LOL
    I cooked all meals at home using ingredients we had on hand.
    We had my nephew for 4 days while his parents were on vacation. He’s 10. They live their lives completely differently than we do. I cooked the same way I always do, despite him trying to be “picky”. I also continued to do all my frugal and zero waste activities despite him looking at me asking “what are you doing” in a very rude tone. His parents are getting an earful when they get back.
    I did my usual things: washed and saved/reused zip top bags and glass jars. I have not purchased zip top bags in 6 months. 🙂
    hung all laundry to dry except my husbands “work” coat. It is very thick and he uses it to work outside on the vehicles or shovel or snow blow the driveway.
    I spent less than my allotted grocery budget yesterday. I purchased as much as I could without packaging, which is very difficult in my area. I was unable to find ground beef at a reasonable price for my husband, so I did not purchase any.
    We did purchase a twin size air bed to sit on top of a foldable/portable bed frame for my nephew to use in our spare bedroom while he was here. It was less than $20 and we can use it again. We already had the bed frame, it was in our garage when we bought the house and we saved it.
    My mother and step father are bringing over a large shelving unit/cabinet and a desk that is still in the box for us to have. She finally got her husband to “purge” a little. We can use the shelves in the garage and the desk will be our daughter’s when she starts school.
    That’s all I can think of. Have a great week everyone!

  9. You probably already know this but in case others don’t, you can regrow a new tomato plant from a cut branch or sucker. You don’t even have to fuss with it. Simply stick the cut end in the dirt in the ground (deep enough to both support it and encourage deep root growth) and water well daily. I try to pick a thicker branch to do this with as it grows to become the main stem.

    I’m forever jealous that you’re in spring. We got another six inches of snow and the low tonight with windchill is -40 here in Upstate NY. It will be July before I see anything green again at this rate…

  10. I had a business trip. Since I freeze all leftovers in portion-sized bags I was able to take most of my meals with me. Even though the company reimburses me from meals away from home on travel I still prefer to take my own along so I know what went into the food I am eating as well as not having to lay out the cash and wait to be reimbursed. My colleague and I, on the spur of the moment indulged in a foot massage and I was so surprised when she treated me! I picked up her her dinner that night as well as a visit to the coffee shop after the massage. Both are reimbursable expenses for me, although I feel a little guilty submitting them since she won’t be reimbursed for the massage she treated me to. I will wait to her her mention something she has been wanting to cook, make it myself and bring it to the office someday soon so I don’t feel guilty. 🙂

    I discovered an app that gives points for checking in at different places and another that gives points for scanning purchase receipts. I earned a $2 Amazon certificate with these apps in a week, partly thanks to all the check in opportunities I had due to traveling.

    My colleague gave me a skirt she no longer wears but that fits me and goes perfectly with my style of dressing (neat but warm!). I had been looking for one in the color she gave me, the gift couldn’t have come at a better time.

    My husband is doing a lot of juicing right now. I make hummus about every other day. I’ve started adding the juicing leftovers to my hummus and it is just delicious! Since he made more juice in the last two days than I could use for hummus I’ve got a pot on the stove making vegetable broth with veggie juice scraps (we call them ‘juice leavins’ because it sounds fun), and potato peels and leek tops from the potato leek soup that is cooking in the crock pot. The nice thing is I didn’t even have to use any garlic cloves for flavoring the broth since he put garlic in his juice today.

    Just writing down these few things is inspiring me to run a weekly list of my own so I can look back and really understand how many frugal things I do by habit but don’t pat myself on the back for being frugal about. It is nice to feel good about good habits we have developed.

  11. It’s definitely not springtime here! It was -12 where I live in Michigan this morning. I can’t complain too much because I really do love winter, but my heart is excited for spring, too.

    This past week, I worked a ton of overtime at my job – enough that I was able to purchase (guilt-free) new winter boots (the other pairs I had all died this winter and I was literally wearing slipper boots—not too smart where I live), new pants and two new shirts and new outfits for my toddler who is having her 2-year photos taken later this week (our friend takes photos for everyone for free and it’s a HUGE blessing). I saved 50% off one of my shirts and the clothes I bought for my girl were all on sale. We never EVER shop like that, but I’m super thankful for the OT I’ve been working and will be working until baby #2 arrives in a few weeks.

    My husband is tutoring 1 student right now and the extra money helps a ton – especially with pregnancy cravings 🙂 My girl’s now done with lunch and ready to play so that’s all for this time!

  12. I love all the spring photos from your garden. I have daffodils in pots that are close to blooming – weeks early for Western Washington. I already see buds on trees here too. Spring seems to have arrived very early this year in our area. So different from the parts of the country that are buried in snow.

    It was not a frugal week, unfortunately. A week and a half ago, I noticed water dripping down from the cabinet above the kitchen sink. This is bad news if you live in a condo. Our upstairs neighbors have moved out and their unit is up for sale. It turns out they had a leak under the sink, and a plumber fixed the problem the next day. However, there is water damage in both units. We had a remediation company come in and cut open the drywall to dry everything out on our side. Turns out, due to insurance weirdness, we are responsible for the damage in our unit, because it was an accident and the owners of the upstairs unit fixed the leak. However, our upstairs neighbors are responsible for fixing the water damage to their unit, but so far they are refusing to do so because they don’t want to take the condo off the market to deal with the problem. The techs from the remediation company told me that, if the upstairs neighbors don’t get the waterlogged flooring dried out in their unit, we are going to end up with serious problems in the future (like cabinets coming loose and falling down). I have talked to and pleaded with our neighbors, but so far they have refused to act. This is totally ironic and frustrating, because a few years ago they themselves had the same problem: untreated water damage from their upstairs neighbor caused significant damage in their kitchen (including falling cabinets) which lead to costly repairs on their part. So now they are dooming us to the same fate, unless they take action. I’m doing everything I can to get them to dry out the flooring, but we will probably have to escalate the situation in some way, which I am not looking forward to. It’s sad, because we had a good relationship with them up to this point.

    Anyway, it looks like our remediation bill will be around $600 to $700. Our insurance deductible is $500, so it’s probably not worth filing a claim.

    I went to get a free tire rotation yesterday at the place where I bought my car tires, and it turned out the car was leaking hydraulic fluid. I got the problem repaired (new struts) plus fixed something else. The total was $1000. Not exactly what I was planning on.

    In any case, I feel very blessed that we have the money to pay for these unexpected expenses (it will deplete part of our savings, but that’s what savings are for).

    Simple pleasures last week:
    – I mailed homemade valentines to a few friends and family members
    – I made my husband and I a lovely valentine dinner: homemade spring rolls, spicy Asian broth, and cheesecake. Delicious! I had almost everything on hand to make this meal, and we really enjoyed it. We exchanged cards (the one I gave him was homemade).
    – I took several walks on nature trails near our home. This always clears my head.

    I look forward to hearing about everyone else’s week.

  13. I finally got some time to complete some sewing projects:) I’ve been working on a dress for my youngest for over a month now, and finally finished. The main reason it took so long was that other activities filled my time, but also, it was more complicated than what I usually make–added lace in rows (hard to get straight), ribbon, buttons/buttonholes,etc. I’m thrilled it’s done and looks great. I used fabric, lace, buttons and a pattern I had on hand. Then, I used 2 smallish pieces of knit I had to make a sleeveless dress with one print on the top and the plain pink for the skirt. I used bias tape I had that matched the pink skirt and bound the neck and armholes. I used one of the sale patterns from JoAnn’s (I’ve had for a while), bias tape from the drawer left over from another project and scraps from other projects in the past, so that one was really frugal and gave me a great sense of satisfaction because it looks good as well as being basically free. We will save that one for the trip. I will probably make a matching headband.

    I am working ahead on summer clothes for the kids as we plan to take a longer trip this summer. We will be doing a mission trip where we need decent clothes for the journey, but really worn and yucky things for the actual mission trip work. Then we plan to vacation for a few days. During these trips, we always take a lot of pictures. Many of these pictures will be likely put into scrapbooks. So, nothing fancy, but I try to have the kids’ hair combed, and have them match at least:) It’s how we’ve always done it, but we haven’t taken a family road trip of any distance for a few years. It seems to make me more enthusiastic about sorting the clothing and figuring out what is really needed and weeding out some things. So, each month I order/buy/make an item or two in anticipation and the kids can look forward to it all as well. (For some of our kids, it’s extremely traumatic to even think of leaving home for any reason, due to their pasts.) So, we talk about it endlessly, pack, re-pack, show maps, internet pictures of where we are going–you get the idea. This will be the first “big” trip for the youngest, so lot’s of pre-prep on our part to hopefully minimize anxiety. We hope to take the small car, so every item will be carefully chosen, and we will wash laundry in the middle of the trip, so I don’t need to get much, and will obviously use much of what we already have.

    I re-planted lettuce in my cold frame. The first batch did not come up or was eaten by slugs. The seeds in the greenhouse are up nicely. The peas are beginning to come up where I planted them in the garden raised bed. I cleaned out a couple more raised beds on a nice day.

    I cooked many items.

    Our refrigerator is acting up. We had to call a repair man yesterday. He did some things and now we are waiting to see if more needs to be done. He will come back next week and fix the ice maker that has been broken for quite a while. He said he would do that for no additional labor cost, just the money we paid him yesterday. We will need to pay for parts/etc., so that’s kind of up in the air at this point, until he finishes. Thankfully, we have an extra in the garage, and so far this one seems to be working. I was AMAZED at how much stuff fitted into the freezer which is below the fridge in our model. Now it’s completely empty–we transferred the items to the garage freezers during the repair, filling every nook and cranny! I want to use up a bunch of it this week and not fill it so full.

    I planned a special Valentine’s dinner for my husband. I got sick yesterday. He had to cook it himself. It was marinated meat, rice, and I had several other surprised planned, but they will wait. In the meanwhile, he gave me 2 large buckets, some flower seeds and some gardening gloves. I loved them, but fell fussy that he ended up giving me both gifts and had to cook dinner!!!! I’ll make him something special another day. I was up a lot last night, and plan to rest today. I plan to play Candy Crush on my Kindle and read (for free). I will make lunch for everyone from food we have here.

    We did stock up several times on the 99c milk (1/2 gal) and the $2/box butter at Fred Meyers. We plan to freeze any milk that gets close to date. In the meanwhile, I plan to make milk-based soups, pudding, etc. since it was such a good deal.

  14. I am new to your blog and find these posts inspiring. I am not nearly as frugal as I could be, but feel like I am making progress.

    This week I continued my month of no meals/coffees/snacks not prepared at home. Funny how the money doesn’t disappear out of my wallet when I do this.

    I arranged for my brother to make me some raised garden beds out of pallets he has on hand.

    I treated my coworkers to homemade Valentine’s cookies made with ingredients I had on hand.

    I started to research refinancing my home at a lower interest rate.

    I mended some clothes to prolong their usefulness.

    I enjoyed some DVDs borrowed from a friend and from the library, and began reading a free kindle book.

    I redeemed Raleys coupons for a free bottle of soda and a free loaf of sourdough bread. I don’t shop there often because they are so expensive so I don’t get their reward coupons for $5 or more off – but they do send me coupons for some of the items I have bought when I needed something in a pinch, which is nice.

    I actually stuck to my budget, which means I was able to put some money in savings this week.

  15. Was able to keep my leaving the house to a minimum this week and it’s amazing how much money I didn’t spend!!! Plus, with gas prices going up, I didn’t have to refill my gas tank this week! When we do need gas, we always use Gas Buddy to find the best price that is nearby.
    I made a new spreadsheet with every debt we have and started the snowball method of paying them off. Paid the first one off this week. Also, transferred the last of our remodeling debt at Home Depot (which was 0% interest until August 2015. This is how we’ve done all of our remodeling previously and always paid in full before the 0% rate expires, but this time we had some major unexpected challenges that put us behind schedule to finish paying it off before the rate changes) to our Visa card offering 0% until April 2016! This way, we can snowball the payments and pay it off before the rate raises above 0% interest. Sounds strange but it will get us to our debt free goal sooner!

    Use my menu planner to keep us eating at home every day and as a result, I only spent $11 this week on groceries! All the meals were so easy to put at the table because i had them planned and written down!

    All in all a good week!

  16. Buying an air bed was well worth the money when we bought one. It’s amazing how often we use it! I don’t know how we lived without it.

  17. Brandy, I am in awe of your gardening skills!

    It was a mixed week where being frugal was concerned: on the plus side, I did 2 hours of overtime, air dried all laundry, took most of my breakfasts and lunches to work, was treated to lunch once (with leftovers for dinner). On the minus side, I spent $3.24 to buy dinner (fish and chips) on the night I did overtime and $1.50 for a bread roll from the farmers market the next day for my lunch (took cheese from home to have with the roll). And I splurged and bought shrimp (on sale) when I went grocery shopping, this week! My grocery shopping details are here:

  18. I want to thank the person (I’m sorry – I don’t remember who it was) who said they signed up for the Disaster Preparedness course through Coursera. I’m taking the same course now and am loving it.

  19. Mandy, I know that feeling with nieces/nephews. One of my set of “parents” both make very good money. If they want something, they buy it. Their child is spoiled to the point my child can’t stand to be around their child. The child constantly brags about what they got new and how much it cost. I just have to bite my tongue.

  20. As usual Brandy, your photos are beautiful.

    Here’s my frugal tasks for the week –

    * Baked lots of peanut butter choc chip biscuits using homemade dough from the freezer.

    * Portioned out $20 worth of chicken fillets into seven meals and froze in snap lock bags.

    * Refilled the dish washing liquid and diluted it by about 30%.

    * Made lots of small rissoles and flash froze them raw on oven trays. They were then portioned into meal sizes and put back into the freezer. The will be great for quick and easy meals especially on hot days with a salad.

    * Collected kitchen water and poured it onto our fruit trees.

    * Bought two as new recipe books from Savers for $3.99 each less 15% discount. One was a muffin book and the other was a biscuit book. They have been put away for Christmas presents. I picked up a lovely cushion for a bed for $2.55. It looks new and has been put away for a birthday present. I also bought an assorted bag of cotton reels and ribbon for $ 2.55. The cotton will be used for sewing and is worth at least $18.

    * Gratefully received some salad, bread, croissants and nectarines.

    * Used some old Christmas cards to make 38 gift tags for future Christmases.

    * Altered a dress for myself and one for Jessica.

    * Hand washed the dinner dishes a few times this week. There wasn’t enough to put the dish washer on, We usually only use the dish washer for afternoon tea and dinner dishes together.

    * Gratefully received a large amount of vegetable seeds from an online friend who cannot plant them. There are enough seeds for the next year or two of everything we usually grow. This is a huge blessing for our family and were are so thankful. Thank you so much Jenny. xoxo

    * Picked corn, beans, tomatoes, raspberries and one lemon this week.

    * Baked a double batch of chocolate choc chip muffins.

    * Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread.

    * Darren rigged up an old beach umbrella to shade our raspberry plants. The fruit was getting bleached by the hot sun.

    * Saved the washing machine rinse water for the next load. Saved the shower warm up water for some plants.

    I have photos of some of these tasks on my blog

  21. My MIL is on hospice care, and today her breathing is shallow with long pauses. Although I was there with her earlier in the week, I had returned home when her condition worsened. I can’t be there today without pulling my husband away since I can’t drive that far alone. I’m here, quietly devoting the day to thinking of her and reminded of the importance of those simple pleasures you mentioned. I’m using the time to bake rustic bread, tapping the top of a loaf to listen for the right hollow sound, smelling the yeasty smell throughout the house and hoping it comforts my husband if he should return home tonight. A misty rain is beginning outside, and we so need any moisture here in drought-stricken central Texas. I use my phone with the cheaper prepaid service to text updates to my daughters, each of whom also visited their grandmother this week. After all, what does it matter that we live more frugally than we thought we would need to during retirement?

  22. The same thing happened to me. I am a Registered Nurse. I spent 26 years working for the local hospital and on August 12, 2013 I suffered a stroke. After 3 months of PT/OT/ST I was ready to return to work part time in the ICU and if I did OK my Doctor was going to lift my restrictions and allow me back full time. The hospital refused to honor my Doctor’s restrictions and replaced me! I have been working in health care since then, but I have decided that I am going to retire in 3 weeks. I find Brandy’s story very inspiring and I know that with careful planning, my husband and I can live a simpler, more fulfilling life! We have a farm and I can finally join him at his side – raising Steers, growing corn silage and having the garden I have always wanted to have but never had the time! I wish you and your husband the best!

  23. Stocked up on dehydrated potato shreds. One of the grocery stores had them on sale for a lower price than my “buy price”.

    Made a turkey & rice casserole that was completely from pantry. Home bottled turkey (2pts), home bottled broth (1 half pint, plus the broth from the turkey chunks), long grain white (2/3 cup) & brown rice (1/3 cup) from storage, salt from storage, dehydrated parsley from our garden, poultry seasoning from storage, & parmesan cheese from storage. Combined all together & baked for 1.5 hours. It was delicious. I have made this before with half broth/half water, & it was good, but using all broth made it wonderful. Reheated very well, too.

    Moved a quart of dried red raspberry leaves from a clear quart jar to one of the green quart jars introduced last year by Ball. I expect that the coloring in the glass will help protect the dried leaves from the light, & make them last a little longer. The blue & the green jars are marked down in stores here, in anticipation of the purple jars just released.

    Watched “Downton Abbey” & “Lark Rise To Candleford” on PBS & “Cheese Slices” on UEN.

    Traded some extra parsley seeds I did not need for some extra garlic starts that one of my neighbors did not want. Wins for both of us. Used reclaimed kitchen water on the daffodils that are coming up. Finished pruning the large grapevine & made a 4th wreath, which was a “simple pleasure” to me. I will enjoy using & seeing the wreaths from our own vines.

    Dried more orange zest from an orange I ate for lunch. Cashed a $3 pine cone research check.

    Took a load of items we no longer use to Deseret Industries & asked for a receipt for our taxes next year. Filled the gas tank while I was in town, using the Chevron card for the discount on the gas & for the free car wash coupon.

    Our oldest daughter will be home alone for the weekend (because she works) while her husband takes the children on a ski trip with the extended family on his side in Idaho. Over the past week, I made some frozen meals to zap in the microwave for her, from our leftovers. I have one with a thick slice of meatloaf & mixed veggies, one with turkey & rice casserole, one with Alfredo noodles & pork loin, and one with pork loin & mashed potatoes. I went over to visit on Thursday, so I took those along with the other items I was taking her.

    Cut some 7.5” x 7.5” squares of navy blue flannel from some freecycle pillowcases, & began to hem them to use as emergency TP. The squares are the same size as diaper wipes, since I am storing them in an empty diaper wipe box, inside an 5 gallon bucket fitted with a toilet seat type lid. Using a darker color rather than white, stains should not be as obvious. At my age, I don’t relish the thought of using leaves or newspaper if we should have an earthquake, or other natural disaster, & I think a couple of boxes of 60 should get us thru just fine. I used to wash cloth diapers for our children & plan to wash these the same way.

    Put earthquake guards on 5 of the shelves in the cubby that hold full canning jars. I use molding from the ReStore for this, since it is very inexpensive & looks are not particularly important in the cubby, altho I do tend to use white molding, for the reflective value, since the cubby is an area with no natural light.

  24. Birdsong, fruit blossoms and primroses! Oh, they give me hope of spring! Your orange vinaigrette sounds good. I’ll have to try it. I’ve only had snowdrops a couple of years, and it’s been so cold the past few nights, the little flower stems are drooping :o(. I guess even snowdrops can only take so much cold. In the meantime, I’ll have to live vicariously through your lovely gardens. Joining in here:

  25. Brandy, great photographs! And thanks for posting early on Sunday, it is the high point of my Sunday when I find your updates 🙂

    This week, ate all our meals at home. Also did a freezer inventory to help plan next week’s meals. Aside from milk, we have everything we need already! We have decided on some items we want to sell, so last week I finally made a list and planned out how to do it. Strange, but once I have a list and a plan, that alone gets me spurred into action.

  26. Thanks for the tip on the “leavins” for the hummus. I use ours for stock, or add to soup that ends up being puréed, but we still have extra to be used.

  27. With temperatures in the 50s and low 60s, I was able to work outside cleaning up and turning dirt. It is so beautiful outside that I’m feeling guilty to be enjoying it so much – with all the problems with snow back east.

    I purchased seeds from WalMart and the dollar store. I’m beginning some knitting projects while I watch a few TV shows at night. I’ll be glad when Christmas rolls around that I started early in the year.

    I made french bread, homemade chicken alfredo pizza with leftover chicken, white bean alfredo pasta, shepherd pie with leftover mashed potatoes and ground beef, sugar cookies for valentines day. We celebrated Valentines day at home after hubby finished up his part time job doing taxes. We had dinner with a few leftovers and his favorite dessert is the sugar cookies. We watched a movie on TV and called it good.

    Brandy – I have seen a few recipes that call for lemon grass. It is expensive to purchase so I’ve never used it. What types of food do you use it in? Also – I didn’t realize that primroses were perennials – do you cut them back or let them just die away?

  28. I am so jealous of your apple blossoms. It is very cold in central Maryland, got snow last night, and are slated to get more tomorrow night. It could be worse; I could be in the upper Midwest or New England!

    I finally stopped crying over Thursday night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy and accomplished the following:
    • Bought 3 packages of organic chicken breast with bone and skin at $2.99 a pound because their expiration date was 1 day away. I usually buy the boneless, skinless breasts for $7.99 a pound so this was a good bargain. I froze two packages and am cooking the third one for Sunday night dinner.
    • Made an apple crisp from the last of the apples from fall, which were getting soft ,
    • Used an entire 11 ounce package of organic spinach to make salads and stuffed shells and then sautéed and froze the remainder for future use. There is a LOT of spinach in an 11 ounce package!
    • Used up the remainder of the cottage cheese to make an apple-raisin kuegel. It is so good, it’s practically a dessert.
    • Continuing to declutter and put things aside for my daughter to take back to college after spring break or put in a yard sale this spring.
    • Worked from home 4 days last week, which saved over 5 gallons of gas. Prices are starting to go back up but even if they weren’t, saving gas is saving money.
    • Used my Panera and La Madeleine coupons to get my free birthday desserts. I also had lunch at La Madeleine with friends and when I looked at my receipt, I found a “survey” invitation that will give me a code for a free pastry on my next visit. I am filling out the survey tonight.
    • Bought discounted Valentine’s candy today to put in a basket in my Mom’s nursing home room so the staff can have a treat. My Mom is no longer capable of eating anything solid or even unwrapping the candy, but the staff appreciates the treat.
    • Listened to the basketball and hockey games for my favorite teams on the radio, which helps me not miss cable TV. Sports are pretty much the only thing I miss on cable since I can get my local channels (and some subchannels) with a small indoor antenna. I also get a lot done when I’m just listening to a game rather than watching it.

    Enjoy your week and I look forward to reading everyone’s accomplishments.

  29. I opened a new “Vintage Sterling” jewelry case at a new upscale antique mall in the area, as well as renting a small wall space next to it where I can sell anything that hangs on or right next to the wall. So far it is looking like a worthwhile endeavor. Also took a truckload of used furniture from our home to a nice resale shop. Have been continuing to declutter many things from our home on Ebay. Thinking about retiring in a couple of years and want to make it easy to downsize.

  30. I have baked your graham crackers several times and tonight made a strawberry clafloutis , I hope I spelled it correctly. Both recipes are wonderful. My grandchildren enjoy the crackers and I love that I made them and know what is in them and the clafloutis was a nice Valentine dessert. Thank you so much for sharing your gifts.

  31. We had a similar problem with someone selling before fixing water damage that was going to cost us in the future. I found out who the real estate agent handling the sale was and called and told her about the hidden damage. They are required to make sure that information like that is passed on to possible buyers, or they could lose their license (where we live anyway). In short, the agent told the sellers they had to disclose the damage and have it fixed—they were not happy with us, but the problem was fixed before it did us any harm.

  32. I am happy to see spring in your area. It is quite uplifting, as I am sure it will soon spread to other areas. Today our high was 0 in upstate NY. We did not leave the house! We kept the blinds and curtains closed all day to save on heat. (I am sure our propane usage will be quite high since we have had several days with highs in the single digits and negative temperatures at night and during the day.) I am looking forward to March so that I can start seedlings in doors. My husband brought me home a plant heating mat for starting seedlings. He found it a an estate sale for a few dollars. This will allow us to help our seedlings germinate in our cold climate.

    Today I made a batch of waffles for the freezer, a loaf of bread and chili. My husband suggested we put the chili over a bed of rice which was a wonderfully frugal suggestion! We have lots of chili leftovers so I put some in the freezer for quick meals. I am having trouble finding low prices on beans! I really wanted to use kidney beans, but the lowest price per pound I could find them for was $1. Pinto beans were 95 cents a pound (the same price as a whole chicken per pound), but I thought that since once pound of dried beans were really 2.5 pounds of cooked it was in fact worth while. If anyone has any suggestions, for a cheaper source of beans in upstate new york please let me know!

    I went shopping and spend the rest of the this months grocery budget. I believe we spent around $70 this month (I need to add all of the receipts). It was a bit more then I was hoping to keep it at $60, but it is a large improvement over our past spending of $160 a month. I spent $5.58 on contact solution and $5.99 on a ten pound bag of onions (onions have been over $1 a pound and I refuse to pay that. We had a bad year for growing onions in our garden and did not get as much as usual, I am hoping this year is better and I can avoid this cost next year). I have started shopping every other week and it has really helped save money.

    I have started to work on a price sheet for price per pound. I am really excited for this. I have the prices of more frequently memorized, but I have trouble remember some of the more infrequently bought items and it is difficult to keep track of the ever rising prices.

  33. Being a gracious recipient of a gift is much more difficult than being a gracious giver. Your co-worker wanted to do something nice for you, so don’t try to match it, at least not right away. Write her a nice thank you note and do something for her in a couple months.

  34. I went to CVS and bought papertowels and TP, getting $10 bucks for spending $30. The final price was cheaper than Sam’s Club. I went to Walgreens and got the free Mountain Dew Kickstart and aspirin.

    I cashed out for $25 Paypal from Swagbucks.

    Free in the mail – 3 teabags.

    I signed up for Walgreens Healthy Rewards and entered my exercises and weight to earn points. Thanks to the reader that mentioned it in their frugal accomplishments!

    I signed up for levelized payment plan for our electric bill so our bill will be roughly the same every month. This will make it easier to budget.

    I had the lunch provided at my employer’s all 5 days. One day, there was enough leftover we could make up a plate to take home at the end of the day. I was the ONLY one who took them up on the offer! I had it for dinner when SO was working late and I ate dinner by myself. For Valentines, we also each got a cake pop and they had an edible arrangements for the staff to share.
    I paid off and cancelled a credit card.

    I cleaned out my drawers and closets. I donated some things I’m not going to wear that were in good shape and did some stain removal and mending on a few things. I organized everything I’m keeping and made a short list of what I need so when I go to the thrift stores I know what to look for. I treated some deodorant and sweat stains with a mix of 25% original blue Dawn and 75% hydrogen peroxide.

    For Valentine’s Day I made lentil sausages. We had a fire in the fire pit and had the sausages, homemade coleslaw with a cabbage I got in my produce box and baked beans. For dessert I made chocolate chip cookies. SO got me a rose bush, so we replanted it into a large ceramic pot on the patio. I added chopped up banana peels to the potting soil.

    We paid our real estate taxes a month early and got a 1% discount.

    I ordered some specialty glue my son need from Amazon and got free shipping with prime and paid for it with gift card credits I had earned through Swagbucks.

    I signed up for health insurance through the Marketplace so I can cancel COBRA next month. It is $150 a month cheaper than COBRA and better coverage. I won’t be eligible for insurance through my new job for 3 months.

    Have a great week everyone!

  35. Brandy I love the change of seasons! We are in the last of the hot weather I think and soon into autumn. I am already thinking about soups and stews and so on.
    My simple pleasures included jam making ad picking fruit. I enjoy these so much!
    Today I have fresh figs to use so my pleasure has been looking for some different recipes. I am going to make a fig, cheese and prosciutto pizza tonight. I have already made a lot of jam! I just posted on my blog all things that can be made from a jar of jam. ( ) It is a humble thing and a luxurious thing at the same time! But if you have jam there are lots of options. I post my frugal things on fridays and my best frugal find last week was thanks to my husband! (he has a good eye) I hope this week is great for you. I was so happy about Michelle’s free load of wood (above) these things make such a difference. xxx

  36. Elaine, you can root the ones from the store and grow it indoors if you like. It’s a tropical plant; a lot of mine died back with prolonged freezes.

    Lemongrass is used in Asian recipes. I just looked up lemongrass recipes on Pinterest, since I have an abundance of it. I found so many things that look delicious!

    The only thing I did with the primroses was to pinch off the dead flowers after they died. That’s it!

  37. I hope your MIL passes peacefully when the time comes. Hospice is such a blessing. You are right that its the small and simple things that matter.

  38. It pains me to read that “Spring is here” where you are. Here in Indiana it is 10 degrees out and we are expected to have the coldest week yet of the entire Winter season – down to -30 by mid week. hohum. I’ve been wanting to start my container gardening as I have big plans this year, but the weather is such a downer. I’ve been cooking all of our meals at home this week. Shopped solely at Aldis to save money too. A couple of other things that I did this week were to down grade my cell phone plan and our cable. Turns out we don’t miss the reduction in plans at all and it will save me $40 a month between the two.

  39. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos which have made me very jealous. It’s minus 40 today with the wind chill so I am a long way from seeing anything in my garden!
    I didn’t do very well with being frugal this week but I did use Valentine’s cards that I bought last year 80% for my son to take to daycare and we made homemade cards for his grandma and aunt.
    I’ve been putting off going grocery shopping for longer than usual to use up what we have on hand and I should be able to cut my month’s grocery budget by about a third this month.
    Happy Family Day to everyone (which we are celebrating in Canada tomorrow!)

  40. A dear friend from our church blessed us with a dozen eggs from her chickens. We helped her clean up her horse stalls. (her husband died very suddenly 12/22 and she is left with a lot of work she is not used to doing. She is a nurse, her husband stayed home and raised miniature horses and chickens etc. She gave us lots of horse manure to use in our compost this year. We will of course help her more from time to time. Right now the church is helping her a lot, when that slows down some we will step up more and do what we can for her. She does not live far from us, so it is no trouble to go over there to help her. I am worried that she is not eating as she should. She is a small person to already and she has lost a lot of weight. I am making some frozen meals for her to take. We wanted to take her to lunch after church but she declined as she does not like being a ‘fifth wheel’ as she calls it. I am praying for her every day. She is the 3rd widow now that I know and that we try to help, that keeps us so very busy.
    We worked this weekend on our garden beds too. We are not going to plant any more plants yet as we have a hard freeze forecast for next Tuesday. Supposed to be 26 degrees and ice for several days.
    I have not used my dryer in weeks. I am using water from our rain barrels to water our plants. I have used shower water to water plants too. Not going to use ‘extra water’ till after March 30 because our utility company is doing the sewer average based on water consumption. Our company is just plain ‘out of wack’ if you ask me, for example right now on our water bill we used $21.13 in water, but our “waste water” bill is $22.64. How can we waste more water than we use? Also there is a drainage fee of $4.95 and a fee for garbage of $21.00 a month.
    We ate at home all week. For valentines we had just cards except for the kids. The boys got home made brownies and some extra TV time. Love them so much. Next week is their birthday, Evan is going to be 13 and Gavin 15. How can it be?
    I am making a list for the grocery store. I have an extra check from Sam’s club this month of over $100.00 to use as we pleased. (except we could not use it to pay the bill) I got some jeans for the boys, I got some fruit, some meat, some dog food, and sandals. I have some money left over to use before the end of the month. I will make a plan. I need to go through the pantry and see what we need.

  41. I made turkey noodle soup with turkey and broth I had frozen after. Made potato soup in the slow cooker and added leftover ham from Christmas. Made a small pot of no meat chili using slightly out of date cans of beans and tomatoes. I am in the chilly northeast so these three items gave us dinner for 3 days and lunch for 3 days.

    It was really cold and windy today so I spent the morning baking 3 loaves of bread and making jelly muffins for my husbands snack this week. Using the oven also helped keep the downstairs a bit warmer.

    Cancelled a credit monitoring service we no longer need saving us $13.99 per month. Got an offer from our cell phone company to double or data at no extra cost. Called and not only did we get that, but the reduced the cost of my MIL’s phone which is on our plan by $10 per month. A very pleasant surprise. We also have switched cable companies which will save us $12 per month. Not huge, but it all adds up.

  42. I followed your advice and planted some spring onion bits to try to grow my own spring onions. We’ll see how it goes. I’m notoriously bad at remembering to water the garden . . .

    I enjoyed a weekend without any plastering or painting. Ah, bliss! That will last until next weekend. Okay, so me not plastering or painting is not really frugal; but it felt good to have some extra time on my hands.

    Paid our rates (like US property taxes) using the credit card I salary sacrifice to. This time of year we are hit with several large bills right in a row – rates, two lots of car insurance, car registration. I figured out if I stopped using my credit card at all a few months beforehand, by the time the big bills were due there’d be the money just sitting there. One large bill down, three to go. Again, strictly speaking not frugal – but it feels great to know I can pay these big bills and not see a dive in our savings account.

    Frustratingly I discovered yesterday that I’m non-compliant with some recent changes to tax law for US citizens living abroad. There is an amnesty in place at the moment and it shouldn’t result in me having to pay taxes to the US; but it’s annoying to be non-compliant because they changed the law, without actually telling any of us who live overseas that they’ve changed it. You know, because I don’t have anything better to do than to follow US tax law. It’s also annoying because the US is pretty much the only country in the world which requires its citizens living abroad to file taxes and to file information on foreign bank accounts, stock shares, etc. I earn my money in Australia; I pay taxes in Australia; I’ve spent practically my entire adult life in Australia; my life here has nothing to do with the US. Everyone here (except my husband – who understands the sentimental attachment to citizenship) is saying I should just give up my US citizenship. But I really don’t want to do that. My ancestors came over on the Mayflower, were amongst the first settlers in Philadelphia, New York (back when it was New Amsterdam), and Virginia, fought in the Revolutionary War, moved West, fought in the Civil War – it’s my country and I don’t want to give it up. But I get so tired of jumping through hoop after irrelevant hoop.

  43. I’m a bit confused . . . My parents live in a condo and recently had their bathroom redone but the contractor botched it up big-time, causing damage to the unit below. The contractor’s insurance covered it. Surely if the plumber ‘fixed’ the problem but didn’t fix it properly, he’s liable for the damage? Or did I misunderstand something?

  44. Janell, they have already been released. I have a purple pint jar sitting on the windowsill beside me, that I bought at Kmart & used points to decrease the price. They are very pretty, but I have not yet seen the quart jars, which are what I want. I have entered giveaways on 2 different blogs for them, but did not win on the first one, & the second one does not end until the 20th.

  45. My sister was widowed at the age of 38. It’s a tough situation, particularly at that age, because everyone wants to ‘do’ and sometimes you just want to be left alone. So take your cues from her. One of the weirdest things that happened to her was that she moved house shortly after her husband died. Look, him dying was definitely a shock, and it was definitely a financial hit; but he’d been on good money, he had quite a bit of life insurance, so it wasn’t like she was left destitute. She moved from one nice upper-middle-class suburb to another slightly nicer slightly more upper-middle-class suburb. When she introduced herself to her new bishop (Mormon chaplain) and explained that she was recently widowed he exclaimed, “Oh, we’ve never had anyone on welfare before!” Ah, the assumptions people make . . . .

  46. LOL, in my family it’s kind of the opposite – my kids brag about how *little* something costs! “See this cute toy? It’s really good isn’t it? And it was only $1, because I got it second-hand!”

  47. We ate food we had on hand last week and got some steaks out of the freezer for our Valentine’s Dinner at home. We rented a movie and made sure to return it in time for the early return credit. Our weather has been quite a bit warmer so our heater isn’t turning on much at all- I hope that results in lower utility bills.

    I am leaving Tuesday for a business trip that will last until Thursday evening of next week. I took my teenage daughter to Trader Joe’s today and we purchased several “heat and eat” meals- not necessarily frugal except that it will prevent my husband from running to the store for last minute ingredients- he does that often when I am away on business so I thought I would preemptively have meals in the fridge. I am taking several things with me in my suitcase so that I can minimize the eating out when I am in the hotel.

    Swagbucks is still going well for me- I make sure and meet at least my first goal every day- my personal goal is to get at least $50 per month in Amazon credit. My son is currently incarcerated and I like to use Amazon to send him books- he really appreciates the books and I can use my credit instead of paying out of my own pocket.

    That is all I can think of for now- I look forward to checking back in and reading everyone’s frugal accomplishments.

  48. Brandy, our last frost date in Mercersburg, Pa. is May 15. Sometimes it is safer to wait until the 30th. However, most of the time it is comfortable during the day at this time. Night time is when the temps really drop. School was delayed because of low temps today. It is about 10 to 20 degrees below zero with the wind chills. Yesterday was the first day I actually saw people bundled up with coats, gloves, and scarves. We wear coats but do not really bundle up unless it gets about 30 degrees or lower. No one wears a coat at 50 degrees. You will see mainly hoodies.

  49. My husband made me homemade spring rolls too! It was his first time, but he did a good job.

    So sorry about the water damage. That is a pain, but I hope it all works out in your favor!

  50. I took the plunge this past week and set up a blog. More to keep myself accountable than anything. I have loaded my first frugal Monday morning post. I enjoy reading everyone’s post here on Brandy’s page. It is such a blessing. And I love it even more when I see someone with a struggle and God provides their need. Have a great week everyone and for those of you in the COLD, stay warm and be safe.

  51. For Valentine’s, my husband surprised me by making homemade spring rolls from ingredients we already had on hand. We have bunnies, so there’s always an abundance of veggies in the fridge. I’m not really into holidays, but this was a nice, general gesture from him. I worked all day and simply expected to go home and make a simple dinner for myself and do some chores. Husband was supposed to sleep all day because he had worked overtime until 8am on very little sleep from the previous day. But when I got home, the dishes were done and dinner was made. That alone is just nice, since he never makes dinner without me asking.

    Then yesterday I spent all day meal prepping while he was at work. I made 5 meals with Honey Garlic Chicken, roasted red potatoes, roasted green beans, black eye peas, and lime quinoa. I also cut up some carrot sticks and made hummus, nut bars, and broccoli cheese soup. I also managed to dehydrate 9 trays of carrots. This will get husband through Wednesday, which is our monthly cooking day.

    Spring is almost here in Texas, too! We have rain today and tomorrow, which will hopefully fill up our pond the rest of the way, but then the temperature will go back up. The rest of our compost is being delivered on Wednesday, so I can get the rest of the garden prepared and planted in the next couple weeks.

    Happy Monday!

  52. I found whole chickens at ALDI for .95 cents a pound. I bought and I have made a challenge just to see how much I can get from those chickens. 🙂

  53. Brandy, it’s so lovely to see your blossoms! I think we are not far behind you here in NW Oregon. It’s been in the 60s all weekend and supposed to continue into the week. We didn’t really have winter here this year – I only had to scrape my windshield a handful of times and the snowpack in the mountains is practically non-existent. If I could I’d happily take some winter weather from the east!

    This weekend we cleaned out the garden and got it ready for planting. I gave my six-year-old two half barrels to plant and she got out the seed catalog and started planning. She also found a sprouted hazelnut in the garden and planted it in a pot. We’re both eager to see if it grows.

    I dragged the “empty” toothpaste tube down the edge of the counter and have gotten 2+ additional weeks of brushings out of it.

    I continue to earn my swagbucks, though they’ve made it more difficult in recent months! I always hit my first daily goal, and about half the time I get my second goal.

    Last week I mentioned to my husband that I need to reorganize the freezer because I’ve lost track of what we have. His response was to ask me to stop stockpiling food. I think I gasped out loud when he said it. I’m of two minds…on the one hand, we have wasted quite a bit of food over time because we haven’t used it up quickly enough. On the other hand, I’ve gotten much better in recent years about buying food we actually eat, rather than just buying something because it’s on a good sale. I can see that we may save money if I only buy what we’re going to eat for the week, but at the same time I’m not going to stop stocking up on 99 cent pasta! So as a compromise I’m going to focus for the next couple of weeks on planning meals around what’s already in the freezer and pantry.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  54. My DH was laid off back in June and if not for Brandy and her website/blog we would not be doing a well as we are right now. My DH was let go due to “re-structuring”. We can’t prove it but it looks like his age was a factor in their decision to let him go as well as 12 other employees around his same age. So I understand well, the lack of compassion from some companies. It’s really disheartening. We saw the writing on the wall so to speak and were able to prepare some ahead of time as well. I, too have been so blessed by Brandy and everyone else who contributes here!

  55. Sounds like you’re doing great! Living a frugal lifestyle is definitely a process. At least is has been for me. Keep up the good work!

  56. Amy – if I can grow – trust me – you will master the container gardening in no time.
    I agree with Debbie too!

  57. My daughter was a nurse for 20 years and this happened to her also.
    She retired. It almost killed her to leave the nursing profession. She grieved for a few years.
    She is now going to school again.
    Take your joy in this new stage of your life.
    God bless and keep you.

  58. Aldi has had pinto and black beans at $1.69 for 2 lbs at my PA location. I know that isn’t a huge savings (.85 per pound) but it is better – not sure if all Aldi’s have the same pricing.

  59. My pace is slowing down to be able to care for our failing family member. Even though much isn’t being done, it is so nice to make notes of things to try a little later. This blog really lifts my spirits.
    I mended some clothing – fixed a loose seam, replaced buttons of items purchased at the Bargain Room last week to list on Ebay using thread on hand and my button jar.
    Made another double batch of granola, letting it cool on the Silpat (took the Silpat off the baking sheet to the cold counter with granola on it) works great and I don’t use foil (as recommended by the recipe).
    My green thumb is a brown thumb wearing a green coat – so I marked out planting times for my seeds since starting them outside late (I am always late) doesn’t yield as much as I hope. I am hoping with this chart of when to plant what when, I will be more successful.
    I have small scraps of cotton fabric that I intend on sewing into one long piece and turn that into ribbon – I saw this in a Zakka sewing book. The ribbon can be used for anything and it is such a great idea to use up those tiny scraps that one can’t bring themselves to toss.
    We have been staying in and watching movies and Call of the Midwife through our Netflix acct. I could easily cancel cable and just use that, but I will have to wait until they have hockey and football live to do so 
    Traded homemade Valentines with my mom, she always makes me lavender sachets in different styles each year, those are such a blessing during this stressful time.
    Stayed in on Valentine’s Day and allowed my husband to cook. The meal was so good, I didn’t mind cleaning the mess afterwards.
    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  60. They purchase everything (cleaners, food, etc) where our motto is why buy it if I can make it. He plays video games, a lot. We don’t and limit the TV we watch (especially our 4 year old). When it’s NOT winter we are outside all the time, they rarely go outside. Being at our house was kind of a culture shock to him, it just upset me how rude kids can be, especially that young. I spoke to his parents and they were disappointed in his behavior. They have not raised him to behave that way.

  61. The apple tree looks gorgeous!

    I continue to shop the deals and use coupons, looking for freebies and cheapies. My favorites were $0.99 deli meat, $0.68 summer squash, $0.07 candy, free energy drink and eye drops. The strangest thing I found was a package of reduced strawberries. They were only $0.99, but were supposed to be $15.84/Lb! I know cut fruit is expensive, but that’s ridiculous. Who would pay more for berries than steak? All of my deals including pics can be found here:

    Also, is anyone going to the blogging conference in Salt Lake City on Feb 20-21? I know many of you ladies live out West, so I wanted to ask.

  62. I planted another 50 cent pack of seeds in the flower bed in the front yard–zinnias. I lost a bunch of vegetable seedlings with our unseasonably hot weather so I will have to start some more. My youngest harvested and ate some sugar snap peas–those are about ready to be pulled out, also because of the hot weather.

    At the health food store I found large “natural” lollipops on clearance for 3/$1. I bought 6 to put away for my kids Easter baskets. I also found some all natural food coloring for $3.99, which was a great price because I don’t like using artificial food colors in my baking.

    I received a check from ebates.

    I made a batch of gluten free blueberry muffins.

    I did a bunch of sewing yesterday afternoon using fabric and patterns that I already had. I sewed 2 boys t-shirts for a sewing swap that I am in. In return I will receive handmade shirts for each of my 2 sons. I also made 2 pairs of underwear for my 3 year old (he is finally potty trained for daytime which will save me a bundle on diapers/pullups. yay)!

    I ordered 3 free items from Shutterfly using promo codes (I did have to pay shipping)–a mousepad, a large magnet, and a reusable shopping bag. Al with pictures of my kids, of course 😀

    Wednesday night was my daughter’s last day of soccer practice for her (free) league and she was treated to pizza and snacks. My husband took my 2 older children to a free introductory judo class on Saturday and was told that they can actually get one free month of classes! That’s great because it will give my children enough time to decide if they like it or not before we start paying a monthly fee.

    My 2 older children made handmade valentines for each child in their class at school. My son also made rainbow loom bracelets using rubber bands he already had. For my 3 year old’s preschool party I purchased Valentines from the dollar store.

    I talked with a former client and agreed to do some part time work finishing up a project for him. It will be hard to find the time to work on it (I have a full time job), but it is only for 2 1/2 months and it will be a nice chunk of extra income.

  63. Do you have a recipe for the lentil sausages? We usually have turkey bacon or sausage for breakfast on the weekends but was hoping to find a cheaper and healthier alternative. I was thinking about experimenting to see what I could come up with but it would be great if I could find a recipe that someone is already using with success. I haven’t been able to really find too much online. When I google “lentil sausage recipe” I get sites for lentil and sausage recipes.

  64. Happy Family Day to you as well! I’m in Canada too, and suffering along with you in this mighty deep freeze. Our big family plans today are to watch Mr. Peabody & Sherman on Netflix. Too cold to go out and do anything else! Hope you enjoy your family time together.

  65. That is so nice of you to help your neighbor. God will bless you for your kindness. I am sure the lady is very appreciative, and needs the support of your church.. God bless you all.
    your water/waste water bills are ridiculous. There is nothing we can do..but pay what they say we have too.eeeeh..
    Have a nice day.

  66. I’m trying very hard to not be jealous of those of you having Spring weather now! We are looking at a cold week with some snow tonight. At least I can get some seeds started and dream of Spring.

    I was excited to find out from the code enforcement officer in town that I can set up a table in my front yard this Summer to sell some of my garden bounty! She said that I don’t need any permit and if anyone complained I should not worry because she writes the citations.:D
    As long and I’m just trying to sell surplus and not making an official business out of it there is no problems. The town is also the final authority on the matter so I don’t need to contact the county. Yeah! I hope to have some plants started to try and sell as well as veggies later in the year.

    We are finally finished going through all of my MIL’s things. We ended up with a brand new coffee maker that she never used and a really nice set of dishes among lots of other little items. Her long term Medicaid was approved last week and now her official new home is the Memory Care facility. This is a good thing because it’s a great place and they take great care of her. She has made friends (although she does not always remember that) and, most importantly, she is safe. We could not offer her the same if she were to continue in our home because we can’t be with her 24/7 and she would not have any interaction with people her own age.

    One of our referring offices dropped off 3 packages of Valentine cookies. No one at the office really wanted them so I took a pack home to my DH. Then a patient dropped off 2 boxes of chocolate covered strawberries that no one wanted (which I could not fathom!) so I took them home to DH as well.

    We have been doing a great deal of re-arranging in the house to get ready for the new renter that will be moving in on March 1. I will be loosing a great deal of kitchen and pantry space which has had me stressed. DH and I discussed the issue and came up with a solution. The original part of our house is 150 years old and the bathroom was added on as an afterthought. So there is a room that we have to walk through to get to the bathroom (which is now my bathroom as DH has his own in the newer part). We were using it as a “catch all” room. We de-cluttered that room, set up shelves and turned it into a very large pantry! I’m actually very excited about it. We can fit a great deal of grocery, toiletry and cleaning items in there as well as the dehydrators and other appliances that are not used on a daily basis.

    I realized this morning that I have not gotten grocery money out of the bank for a month now! And I think I can make it through next month on just $75.

  67. Brandy, your photos of the flowers are beautiful, but my favourite is the Valentines Day picture. The chocolates you made look really delicious. I’m sure your children enjoyed the treats. Wish we were enjoying your spring weather here. Alas it won’t be arriving for another couple months in Ontario. Until then, I’ll just have to live vicariously through your posts.

    Today we are celebrating Family Day in Canada. It’s a new holiday for us, but one which we are grateful to have. Our family day will be a quiet one this year. Nonetheless, it’s still nice to have a day dedicated to spending time together. Here are my frugal accomplishments or this week:
    *Finally felt up to cooking this week, since my recent surgery. I made a pot of cream of potato and corn soup. I found a recipe which suggested boiling a ham bone in the chicken stock, which I happened to have one in the freezer from Christmas. So I gave it a try…first time ever using a ham bone in anything. I picked off as much meat as I could from the bone as well to add to the soup. It turned out delicious! I also made a homemade loaf of bread to have with it. Still have some soup left in the fridge we’ll eat up this week.
    *My mother made a batch of homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. They didn’t last long…so good!
    *Bought my daughter an inexpensive, heart shaped key mood necklace for valentines day in stead of a bunch of chocolates or sweets. The necklace will get more use and is healthier than the sweets. She loved it! My husband and I only exchanged words of love on Valentines Day, as we usually do every year.
    *Watched several movies on Netflix and finished reading a book I bought for $1, instead of going out in the sub-zero temperatures this weekend. It was nice to just stay home and relax.
    *No major grocery shopping this week, but did buy some milk and picked up only a few items that were on sale or we were out of.
    *Continue to save bread ends and veggie scraps in the freezer for future use.
    *Washed out some of the ziplock bags and bread loaf bags for reuse. Need to work on doing this more regularly.
    *Bought more bandaging material for my incision area at a store where a friend of the family works. She happened to come out while we were there and told her co-worker that was helping us to give us a 20% discount. That was extremely nice of her to do this, and very much appreciated!
    *My daughter went to the eye doctor this week and needs new glasses. Since my daughter is diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, she receives Ontario Disabilities Support Program (a supplemental medical coverage to our normal Ontario Health coverage for people with disabilities). The cost of the new glasses should be mostly covered through ODSP, saving us over $100 out of pocket. We knew she needed the glasses back in September, but held off thinking we could only get them once a year. We found out, however, that this is not the case with children and if she needs them sooner, that they will cover it as needed. Now we know for next time!

    Well, that’s about all I can think of for now. My husband and I are currently discussing a trip to Las Vegas this summer with my husbands family (long story but has to do with his father’s passing). I’m not totally thrilled about the expense or wage loss (my job is a seasonal summer position), but am being guilt tripped into this. If you have any suggestions of things that are cheap or free to see there, I’d be interested in hearing any suggestions. Thanks and have a wonderful week everyone!

  68. Well we survived yet another blizzard here, (I am in Southeast Rhode Island) although cabin fever is setting in a bit. We have had snow about every 3 days and I would guess our yard is now covered by about 3 feet of it. Spring feels so very far away. This weeks frugal accomplishments:
    – bought pastries from the clearance shelf at the grocery store to use as a special Valentines dessert.
    -used surprise points at Kmart to buy a Valentines treat for my kiddos
    -used a $10 off $25 purchase coupon at JC Penney to buy myself some clothes. I never buy for myself and so desperately needed a few new items. It was a nice (and budgeted) shopping trip
    -used a code for a free Redbox movie
    -listened to a book on cd borrowed from the library. I also checked out a book on Square Foot Gardening as this is going to be my approach this summer
    -redeemed offers from Ibotta. Walmart is changing the terms of their Savings Catcher program and I wonder how long it will be before it ends altogether. I plan to use up my “savings” this week just in case
    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  69. Melissa, something is wrong with your coworkers. Who turns down cookies and especially chocolate covered strawberries 🙂 Hope DH enjoyed them.

  70. Thank you Rhonda, I hope you are enjoying a great Family Day. We are snug in our house also watching Netflix with a roast chicken in the oven 🙂

  71. Goodness! Look at how Spring-y it is at your place. It looks like the Antarctic here. This week we painted the walls in our living room using paint we already had left over from other projects. We combined several to make a pleasant buttery cream color. I bought some bacon end pieces at $1.33 a pound and canned them up. Also canned some dried beans. We made our own corn tortillas (about 25 cents a dozen as opposed to $2 for a package of them). Because of the weather we didn’t go anywhere so we saved on gas plus we didn’t spend any money!

  72. I knew a man originally from Cambodia who grew the most beautiful tomato plants on his small balcony using ice coolers as planters. It was amazing how big a crop he got from a tiny space. Have fun gardening.

  73. Jenifer, be kind to yourself if you’re caring for a loved one. It sounds as if you’re doing quite a bit in the frugal realm.

  74. Our weather is pretty normal here, as expected though we have had somewhat less snow than usual. The cold is good as we are at peak of sturgeon spearing and the lakes need to be good and solid for that.

    That is actually how we ended our week on Saturday. We took a road trip, husband, me, my mother, son and wife and her parents, daughter and her husband. Youngest girl had a youth group service project in the a.m. so husband’s brother stayed home with her, helped with the church. She took him to a matinee movie PADDINGTON which he enjoyed. We used the Priuses (sp?) again so got good mileage. Gas has gone up to 2.24 from the low of 1.90. The men all were going to meet my other son and his friends who were spearing and to watch the activity. We women stayed at the home the children share with an older couple, 2 blocks from campus. They are friends of my mother from way back. When we got there we sent off the men to find the others on the ice, and sent them with a large thermos of coffee and another of tomato soup and tupperwares of cheese sandwiches and oatmeal raisin cookies. We visited at the house, I helped the couple get their tax papers together, the girls did chores and some minor maintenance items, ran errands. My middle girl and younger son live there but she is in her last semester now of nursing and he is finishing his masters and is out of town a lot so neither have been finding much time to spare. We made vegetable barley soup for dinner…I cooked it there. I brought all the vegetables already chopped from home in ziplocs, freezer bags etc and we set it to cooking in the afternoon, along with an apple crisp made with home items. The girls put away the Christmas decorations and then used murphy oil soap and washed all the downstairs woodwork and the stairs and bannister, moved all the furniture and vacuumed around and under everything, swept down cobwebs and dust bunnies. The house smelled very good. The men stayed out all day, checked out the weigh station and saw some 60+ pound sturgeon being recorded. This was all a new experience for my son’s Hawaiian born-California raised father in law. He even got a snow mobile ride. We had the soup and crisp for dinner. Drove back home…it was a nice day.

    I received a $27 check from inbox dollars surveys. I received an oil rebate for $14. I received a check from a supplemental insurance I carry for extra medical expenses. finished up our personal taxes. I started the business taxes.

    Sent a package to my oldest brother for his birthday 2-14. Daughter was going through boxes at old house and found one labeled “Krist”, well he’s Kristof. I found his old blanket, the Linus security type. It was patchwork, my mother thinks made by Grandma Trudi, my father’s mother. It was actually in very good shape but the old cotton batting had shifted. We untied it and put in a new piece of batting, retied it and made a new bias binding, all from items on hand. They are expecting grandchild and thought he might like the blanket. We included in the package card for his birthday, Anniversary also the 14th , his wife’s birthday the 12th and his youngest daughter’s the 15th. All homemade cards. My mother put her cards in the package too. I found a new CD at the thrift store still in wrapper of piano arrangements of Disney tunes for $1.50…they like Disney and were actually at DisneyWorld this week, the whole family. I was afraid chocolate would freeze and get funny so we made peanut brittle for a present they could all enjoy, and sent that, wrapped in the quilt.

    We cooked all from scratch, but since I am still one-handed now, we supplemented with meals out of the freezer. Husband continued to pack my lunch for me. Nephew and his girlfriend brought over a chicken and roasted it with potatoes in our oven on the night they had dinner with us. Other daughter brought a coconut cream pie (delicious!). My youngest daughter who has never been to keen on cooking has been getting much more practice and that is actually helping with that family cookbook I am doing. While she does everything it gives me time to record ingredients and instructions as she goes and she takes needed pictures with the iphone.

    I did the shopping for detergent as mentioned on the February plans…I bought 4 bottles on sale and used double 1.00 coupons so each container was 2.98. Baking chocolate bars were on sale so I bought 6 German chocolate ones and 4 unsweetened for 10.00, butter 2/$5, milk 2 gal/$5, used last coupon that I could double to save $2 off Scott 1000 roll TP, on sale, so final price was 3.98 for 12 rolls. Broccoli was on sale (yeah!) for .99/lb so bought 5 pounds and have lots of plans for it. Cashier said I saved twice as much as spent acc to receipt. Got .05 off for each reusable bag.

    Brandy, will you go back and buy more of those potatoes? You will go through those pretty fast.

  75. What darling Valentines! What a lovely keepsake from your littles! Which child made which?
    This week I made my first batch of chicken stock in the crockpot with the rotisserie chicken carcass from Costco and carrot peels, onion skins, celery leaves, and the garlic cloves that were too small to mince. I added some whole peppercorns and some bay leaves which I don’t normally cook with but added so much extra flavor! It came out amazing. Made chicken noodle soup from most of it, and froze a quart size bag also.
    Read 4 library books, one free Kindle book, and we watched the final season of Treme from the library.
    Got an email from NatureMade vitamins that they were discontinuing their Wellness Rewards program as of May 1, 2015. (This is the program where you enter the codes from the vitamin bottles to get points towards coupons.) I ordered my most likely final coupon for $7 off a vitamin purchase. Will save it for a BOGO at CVS. Coupon expires May 16.
    Got a new bag of navel oranges from Trader Joe’s. Two oranges in the previous bag had soft spots, so I returned them and they gave me an entire bag instead of two single oranges.
    Got 25c back from Checkout 51 app for buying cucumber, $1.25 back from Ibotta for buying milk, eggs, pasta, cheese, and frozen peas. Entered receipts into Receipt Hog. These are all apps I use on my husband’s work iPhone.
    Best to Brandy and to all!

  76. Mae,
    The plumber fixed the leak, but the water had already seeped into the floor and into our condo. The leak had been there for several days (as far as I can tell), and it took a while for it to saturate the floor and drip into our condo. I don’t know what started the leak initially, but it wasn’t the plumber’s fault.

  77. Mable,
    I have spoken to the real estate agent listing the unit. He seems unconvinced that this situation is serious. He did say the information will be disclosed to the buyer, but the problem is that the water damage needs to be taken care of now, before it gets worse.

  78. Kori,
    It was my first time for the spring rolls as well, so I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out. I actually set out all the ingredients in small dishes, and we did ‘roll your own’ style at the table. It was a lot of fun.

    Thanks for your kind words about the water damage. 🙂

  79. We ate down our deep freeze in order to use up things that had been there quite awhile, to spend less at the grocery store for the time it took us to use things up and so I could do a good cleaning! Now it is time to re-stock. I am watching all the ads and buying meat as it goes on sale – so far I replenished with a BOGO whole chicken and pork chops. The fancy grocery store near us has t-bones and porterhouse steaks for about 1/2 price so I will buy 2 or 3 to have on hand.

    I have made your granola recipe, Brandy, several times over the last few weeks. Love it!! As does my husband who used to only eat super sugary cereal.

    We are keeping the heat low (62 degrees) during most of the day, 64 in the evenings and 60 at night – I am happy to wear Cuddle Duds under my jeans and a few layers of shirts and sweaters. Last year was my first winter being home all day – having just retired – and our monthly heat bill jumped over $20 more each month. We just got re-adjusted and it has now dropped that $20 and a bit more.

  80. Hello Melissa! Here is the recipe I use:

    The recipe calls them hot dogs but to me they are more like a sausage. I don’t know how the cost compares for you, but we are vegetarian and the vegan/vegetarian sausage and hot dogs taste horrible and are very expensive. To make them cheaper, I substitute 9 oz of cooked lentils for the tofu. Instead of the almond meal I use matzo meal or really fine cracker crumbs I make myself or ground up oats. You can read the comments for other substitutions. For many of the spices I use an equal amount of steak seasoning because I have quite a bit of it. I’m trying to use what I have. I skip the parchment paper and just wrap in foil sprayed with cooking spray/Pam. The most expensive ingredient is the vital wheat gluten. The first time I made them I bought a small box at the grocery store to see if I liked them. Now I have several recipes that uses vital wheat gluten and I buy it in larger amounts. Amazon was the cheapest for me but maybe if you have a store with bulk bins it is cheaper there. I also stocked up when Publix had them on their clearance shelf as they were no longer carrying it and I bought all they had.

  81. Cassandra, I’m from Philipsburg. Do you go to the Mother Earth News Fair at 7 Springs since you are close to there? I go every year. It’s about 2 hours from here. It would be fun to get together!

  82. Hello LSM! You have to buy a special cornmeal called masa. It’s located next to the taco sauce and refried beans in most grocery stores. Or in the foreign food aisle by the Mexican foods. I get mine from Aldis. It’s just water and corn, the recipe is right on the package. We also add some regular cornmeal to ours because we like the texture better. So easy! And I think a bag of masa costs less than a dollar a pound, If yours don’t turn out, just experiment with adding more or less water. We have a tortilla press that we bought at a garage sale. Sometimes it’s hard to get them thin enough just rolling them out between waxed paper. With everything, practice makes perfect!

  83. Good job on making the homemade TP. I bought used flannel sheets at the thrift store a cpl. years back and used pinking shears which helps some with the fraying. Have gotten off track on using them since I returned to work but have them here for emergencies.. sigh if I don’t get motivated to get out in the snow today that emergency will be here sooner rather than later, one roll left. It is very cold here today, was 1 degree this morning. I am so ready for spring. Being frugal is helping us a lot right now, dh is dealing with some medical issues, we are fearing the big C word won’t know for a couple weeks but the medical bills will start rolling in and I still have not found a job. It’s been 2 weeks. Praying I have a job interview tomorrow and that will help us get a little back on track. If I didn’t know how to live frugally we would be lost. Thank each and every one of you for helping me stay inspired with all your frugal ways. This site truly helps every week to stay focused. Today’s frugal is cutting up a bag of onions so they do not go to waste.

  84. My frugal accomplishment last week was making two small changes to my budget. Two minor changes will save me about $1000 a year!:)

  85. I am a licensed property and casualty insurance agent and I insure condos including the entire building not just units. The unit above caused the damage to your unit and their insurance is responsible for your damage. They also must do what is necessary to mitigate additional risk. Take this to your condo board if they refuse and tell them you will file a claim on the master policy.

    Your carrier can take it to subjugation so you will be reimbursed for your deductible. You can contact the consumer division of your state’s insurance commission if all else fails. I hope this helps!

  86. I have never heard of it Mary Ellen. I am a transplant from Hagerstown, Maryland. It is only about 15 miles down the road but an entirely different culture and lifestyle. That would be lovely to meet up. Was so excited to hear someone being frugal in this part of the Email me please. I would enjoy the friendship and frugal ideas.

  87. That is the price we pay for our chickens at Aldi’s too.. 99 cents for fresh, 95 cents for frozen. Two meals I make with our is homemade chicken with homemade noodles and shredded chicken over a bed of mashed potatoes with gravy and side of green beans.


  88. Linda, I am praying for your mother in law your husband and daughters, that God would give your family the peace that passes all understanding. My mom was in a lovely hospice home when she went home to be with Jesus.I lost her a few months ago. Hospice is so wonderful. I am glad you can find pleasure in the simple things in life. We all took turns telling mom funny stories and lovely memories we had of her and things she did not know about our lives . It was the stories we told about memories about that helped us people even sent us memories on face book and in the mail. Blessings Patti

  89. Accomplishments this week: Harvested avocados and lemons from our trees. The kids were so excited to make lemonade, as we usually drink water or milk. Bought chicken breasts for 99 cents a pound. Received a free loaf of bread and a free box of pasta for buying things I had planned to buy anyway. For free entertainment I took the kids on a walk around the neighborhood on garbage day. My little ones love to watch garbage trucks in real life and online. The biggest frugal accomplishment was finally potty-training my 4 year old son. So now I am getting ready to sell his used diaper covers. I took all his flat and pre-fold cloth diapers and cut them in strips to use as family cloth. As we are a family of all males except me, we don’t use that much t.p. anyway, but from now on, we won’t spend ANY money on t.p.! I figure I can wash the family cloth once or twice a week in my wonder wash (hand cranked washer) so we will save on energy costs too, as I previously washed the cloth diapers and covers in the washing machine.

  90. Thank you so much, Kim. That is exactly the information I needed.

    I already contacted the management company for our condo (they work with our board) and they told me that the master policy won’t cover this. As far as I can tell from our condo by-laws, this is not factually correct, and I am going to pursue the matter further. To be continued…

  91. Discovering and repairing something so important to your brother’s childhood is truly awesome. I’m sure it is greatly appreciated.

  92. I have to look in at least two places in my store because beans are in the canned goods section but also in the ethnic foods in the Mexican section—the prices vary back and forth, so I always look in both before choosing–both dried and canned beans. Sometimes one is cheaper and sometimes the other. It amazes me that they can get more money for the same thing just two aisles over.

  93. ~Lots of snow and 18° here so spring seems a long way away!
    ~I’ve been teaching my sister how to build a stockpile using pantry principle and she’s thrilled with her savings and her full cabinets.
    ~Our church hosted Winter Relief for the homeless last week and my husband and I spent each night at church helping so I saved money since we were eating dinner at church every night but one. Also the person who did the food purchasing way overbought so I was sent home with 1/2 gallon of milk, apple juice, oj, 2 packages of hot dog rolls, package of deli ham and string cheese after the week was over. So my food budget should see some savings this week that I didn’t expect.
    ~Stopped at the thrift store and all orange ticket clothes were 50 cents and orange tickets for other items were 75%. I got a yard of vintage flannel for 25 cents and a really cute Ralph Lauren tee shirt for 50 cents.

  94. Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to trying these! My DH and I are Seventh Day Adventist and DH was raised as a vegetarian. I was not but have never been a big fan of meat. I do eat it on a rare occasion. I agree that the vegan/vegetarian products or not very good and very pricey. But, DH does love his Worthington Veggie Hot Dogs so I do keep those on had when we have the money.:) I already have the vital wheat gluten to use when I make 100% whole wheat bread so it looks like I have everything on hand.

  95. I brought some forsythia into the house to force so I can enjoy its cheerful yellow blooms. They look like random twigs at the moment, but should bloom within a few days.

    I walked to Fred Meyer yesterday and only bought the practical items on my list which was milk, kale, (for kale pesto) and white beans to make your rosemary soup, (which has become my teenage son’s favorite meal!) I had loaded a coupon for a free pack of gum onto my loyalty card, which I also picked up as a treat for my younger son who loves gum.

    Had my mother over for tea as she was stopping by to drop off a blanket she was giving us. Her next stop was the recycling center, so I gave her some styrofoam and a large plastic bin lid, which saved me a trip.

    I dropped off a paper bag of clothes my son didn’t want anymore at the kids’ consignment shop. It’s across the street from the library where my son gets tutoring, so there was no extra driving to run this errand. They took every single garment, which is rare.

    Dinner was the kale pesto pasta dish to which I added a jar of white beans which I’d frozen few months ago. The pasta itself was purchased combining coupons and a sale and was almost free.

    I drove my husband to work this morning as his bicycle tire was flat and he didn’t have time to fix it. We only have one car right now, and as much as I’m not in love with any 5:30 A.M. trip, it’s financially better than owning two cars.

    Yesterday was in the 60’s here in Portland, so I turned off the furnace and threw open the windows to air the house out a bit.

    I spent an hour or so on the couch leisurely reading a wonderful novel from the library. I also went online to renew all my other library materials.

    Your Valentine’s Day chocolates are lovely! I’m afraid that I dropped the ball this year and did pretty much nothing to mark the day.

    Here are some more frugal things that I wrote about on my blog:

  96. I put State College in first because I thought you might have heard of it as it’s the main campus for Penn State. If you can send me your email address I’d like to be in touch with you.

  97. Mary Ellen,

    I’m in central Maryland (Baltimore County) and have thought about attending the fair at Seven Springs. It’s September 18-20 this year. E-mail me, too, at simplewrkingmom at yahoo dot com. Where do you stay?

  98. It has been pretty quiet here. Eating from our pantry, storage and fridge. We did have a major splurge – we saw “American Sniper” at our local theater on $6.00 day (Tuesday). We were in town for errands and Dr appts so decided to go to the ‘real’ movies. Excellent film – as a war film the language was a bit much but an amazing story.

    I rewired two thrift store lamps!!! My favorite thrift store had two really lovely lamp bases for $2.50 each – “as is”. Apparently their insurance carrier told them to cut off the cords if they were ‘non-compliant’. I really liked the bases so looked around for ways to fix them. I went to our local little hardware store and bought the right type of electrical cable (.29c a foot) and the plugs and looked on line on how to fix them. They work and look great! I might have bought new lamps cheaper but I like that I ‘saved’ them and gave them new life.

    Bought a roasted chicken at Sam’s when there for a few things that are cheaper there. I am now going to have to start canning chicken broth as I have no more freezer space. This will be a trial run on using the pressure canner for broth. I love to cook with broth but the price of it in stores is crazy! So I can now have broth to use for rice and soups.

    I put more mulch on some of our plants as we could have more snow and cold weather. My tarragon and rosemary indoor plants are doing okay which pleases me. My store of dried herbs is getting slim so may have to do a small order online from my spice sage and split with a friend.

    Brandy, I thought of your when I picked up a cookbook I bought from our library’s used bookstore 1/2 price sale: Le Bonne Femme. The good wife. It has wonderful recipes for frugal use of food the “French” way. It is so sensible and so lovely!

  99. Anna, will pray for you and your husband in this trying time of job searches and health issues. God is our hope and our strength in times of trouble.

  100. Marcia, I noticed this just the other day. I have for years, since at least 80’s bought a brand of soy sauce called “wheat free tamari” meaning just made from soybeans, not like the Lachoys etc. A couple years ago the label changed to gluten free tamari and last year a little tag popped up on the shelf GLUTEN FREE, along with hundreds of other tags on products that never had gluten in them to begin with. Saturday I could not find it at the store. Asked stocker and he showed me it had been moved to the GLUTEN FREE section. Guess what? They have now raised it a $1 a bottle, same item, just 2 aisles over.

  101. Thanks for the suggestions! Both sound very interesting. I’ll have to look into them. Your responses are really appreciated.

  102. Brandy,

    I an so grateful for your blog. Our food budget has been cut dramatically because of some debt expenses we have incurred and I now only have $97 a month to feed my family of 8 and replace our food storage. Fortunately we have around six months or so of food stored so that helps. But 97 dollars will only go so far Fortunately I found your blog and I’ve been following your example and have been able to feed my family. I do want to ask you about peanut butter. I didn’t notice it in your pantry list. My kids eat a whole jar of peanut butter in a week and that’s the big jar that cost 4.47 at wal mart. Do you eat peanut butter at all or is it too expensive for your budget? I guess I’m going to have to find other things to feed my family instead of peanut butter. I would love your ideas on this matter. Thanks so much for all you do to inspire your readers!

  103. Hi Erica, I love Westerly! Such a beautiful place! We are in Portsmouth, and yes it is nice to know there is another frugal Rhody!

  104. Hi Sandra! I’m glad you’re here!

    I thought I had peanut butter on my pantry list 🙂 I guess not! I do have some in my pantry, but I rarely use it. Neither my husband nor I like peanut butter sandwiches, and our children seem to have followed in that way. Once in a while they might eat half of one, but it’s really, really rare. I use it more for making Asian salad dressing. My husband does like it on celery, but he doesn’t have it that often (perhaps more often if my celery grows well from seed). I have also made homemade peanut butter chocolates, and we liked those.

    If you look at my menus, you’ll see lots of soups for lunches. Most days we have soup or leftovers for lunch. A lot of the soups I make have beans and some have chicken, so we’re still getting lots of protein. Come this time of year, we have more salads for lunch with lettuce from the garden. Sometimes it’s soup and salad for lunch (or dinner) and then I’ll have white bean dip with pita bread at snack time (so the protein ends up in the afternoon snack). I can make pots of soup for .75 to $1.50 that feed the whole family with leftovers.

    Do you have a garden? We’ve been making a lot of soups with green onions, Swiss chard, and parsley from the garden lately. I throw in some noodles (.50 a pound) and some white beans ($25 for a 25 pound bag) and chicken bullion powder (I get that in bulk at Walmart) and everyone is very happy with it. I need to get that “officially” written down and on the site; it’s the new one I’v e been making and it’s really inexpensive. My least expensive one in the Swiss Chard soup.

    I’m assuming you’re making bread, so that should help you a lot. Bread and soup once a day is a huge help to the budget.

  105. I thought of you Brandy the entire weekend as we were in Henderson. Kept hoping as we drove to our destination that I’d just happen upon your home so I get a real life peek at your front garden 🙂 Alas, it did not happen although we were lucky to have perfect weather and we were able to enjoy your town’s beautiful parks (Mission and Dos Escuelas).

  106. Hi Heather!

    There are 3 cities here: Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson. I live in Las Vegas. Since you were in another city, it would be impossible to see my place! (I also have never heard of those parks since I am only in Henderson when I get asked to speak there; it’s a 35 to 45 minute drive from my place, depending on where you are). But the weather was just beautiful last weekend; I’m glad you got to enjoy it!

  107. Yes, I make bread. I have hundreds of pounds of wheat in storage so that’s a good use for it. 🙂 I also have plants started that I hope to get into the ground in the next couple of weeks. I plan to grow as much food as I can so that should help. I also plan to save my own seed. I love soup and will be making lots of it from now on until we can improve our financial situation and maybe even after that. I just can’t believe how expensive peanut butter has gotten. My kids love it so I will have to find a way to get them to eat other things. Fortunately they aren’t too picky about food and will eat beans. We have a couple hundred pounds in storage. Thankfully I am learning how to shop according to your tips and I know that’s going to help a lot especially when it comes to produce. Thanks so much!

  108. I had a link to Anna’s blog but I can’t find it now. I don’t think we have heard from her since Brandy’s blog evolved. I think the blog was Marilyn’ s words of wisdom, something similar .

  109. My husband is not much a fan of swiss chard, but it’s what I grow as spinach bolts too fast here. When I made your swiss chard soup, he said “you’ve finally made swiss chard palatable!” You deserve the credit, not me. He does eat it as a vegetable but it’s not on his list of favorites.

  110. Sandra,
    I understand your need for peanut butter, I have a granddaughter that LIVES on it.:) Not sure where you live, I am in Ms.. My suggestion , watch your grocery sales papers… They will have the store brand peanut butter on sales [sometimes, I get them for $1.25–$1.50 per jar.. I try to stock my pantry , when I see this.. right before Christmas, Fred’s dollar store had them for 99 cents.. I wasn’t sure how their brand tasted, so I went to Wal mart and comp ad Wal marts brand for 99 cents.. Hope this helps , and you will be able to find peanut butter.. best wishes with your garden.

  111. I got a free 8×11 calendar from Shutterfly as a gift reward from MyCokeRewards just for entering certain points in November. I was very impressed over the quality of it and so when I got the promo code from them for the mousepad, I did that one, too. Again, I am super impressed. I’ve had to pay shipping but for personalized gifts at just over $5 it’s a great deal, isn’t it?

  112. I’ve used the leavins in muffins or sweet breads. Especially citrus, zucchini, apple, carrot and kale/spinach. The muffins are very moist and get an extra boost of fiber.

  113. Would you be willing to share how you pruned and transplanted your lemongrass please? I am new to growing lemongrass and would very much appreciate a how to.
    Thank you for all you post here. I live in Northwestern Montana and am craving spring. Your pictures and posts help fill that craving. 🙂

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