Anenome The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut daffodils from the garden for our table. 

I dug dandelions from the lawn. Usually, we only have a few dandelions and I dig them out, but this year we have quite a large number. I still dug them out with a trowel.

My dad bought a Dragon Toes agave plant that had 8 baby plants in the pot. He offered me the two largest, which I accepted and potted in pots I already had and using some of the potting soil I got for free using a free soil with purchase coupon last week at the nursery.

I harvested lettuce, arugula, spinach, Swiss chard, snow peas, green onions, thyme, parsley, and radishes from the garden.

In need of some clothing that will fit me, I went to the thrift store and found a few things that will work for me.

This time of year is the prime time for garage sales where I live. I went to a few sales and found a couple of items of clothing for the family and a few other small things that my family can use. Some items were simple things that I know we’ll use and that will save me money on basic supplies: I bought some staples for $0.25 a box, pads of paper that we’ll use for spelling tests for $0.25 each, and paper clips for $0.25.

I turned two pairs of a daughter’s worn through at the knees jeans into jean shorts.

I mended a dress for a daughter.


The thing that brought me the most joy this week was working on a service project for Days for Girls. I was so excited that this was one of the many service project options at a women’s service project activity through church that I was able to go to. I have wanted to be involved in Days for Girls for many years. I feel like this is such a life-changing service project and I cannot help but get choked up and teary-eyed every time I talk about Days for Girls and what they are doing.


What did you do to save money this past week? What simple things did you do to find joy this week?

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  1. What a coincidence! I happened upon Days for Girls yesterday and looked at some of the stories. I live in the U.K. and it is not well known here. I’m doing a dress for Little Dresses for Africa and perhaps Days for Girls may be calling me too. Joy indeed. Natalie

  2. A friend raises her own pigs and had recently butchered one. She pulled out a boston butt…and didn’t realize her daughter had also pulled one out. She gave me the extra one! I roasted it and gifted my mother with half the cooked meat, fed my family one meal with it, and froze the other portion for another meal!

    I made homemade croutons with left over french bread.

    Cleaned and rearranged an area in our home. It’s a space we don’t use much but the room has glass doors and you can see into it as you walk through the house. It had become kind of a “dumping ground” plus I was storing my gifted dehydrator there. I ended up using an old sheet to cover the dehydrator–like a mini-table. A small plant on top of it has made all the difference. Clearing clutter, rearranging, a little elbow grease—and that little unused space is getting used more now….and a lot more pleasant to look at.

  3. Got our potato crates/tower planted with our seed potatoes! Our tax refunds came in so I transferred them into our savings account so they wouldn’t “evaporate”! Lol!
    Was able to surprise a friend celebrating her 80th birthday with a large scrappy lap quilt filled with bright, happy fabrics and quilted with butterflies! I made it a month ago but hadn’t known who it was meant for until this week! She almost crushed my ribs with her hugs!!! And she cried!! It thrilled me to see how happy she was!
    Had to bake some cookies for Church today and so I found a yummy recipe- like a 7-layer bar cookie only in the form of individual cookies! I needed graham cracker crumbs but as I used up what was in an already opened box of graham crackers, I knew it wasn’t enough. However, I had the graham cracker sugar cones (again, a partial box of crunched up cones)! Made extra space in my cupboards when I emptied those 2 boxes!!! It called for sweetened condensed milk so I made some from my pantry storage! Result? Decadently delicious cookies! I only needed to take 2 dozen but it made 6 dozen! I will package up and freeze 2 dozen for later, last minute “I need to take cookies to someone” times!
    We had our weekly Friday night leftovers dinner- Sheherd’s Pie, Ham and cheese croissants, pizza and salad! Love how that keeps the refrigerator from being over-full where things get “lost” beyond their time of being edible! Lol!
    Tonight we will start our first Self Reliance class time of Starting and Growing your own business! We are so excited that these 12 week classes are being piloted here in our area! Our pallet business is doing well but we are excited to brainstorm with the others in our group and the instructional manual to help it grow even more!
    I was able to sell a couple things on eBay and bring in $40 after shipping! Got another $6 in Pinecone check! Every little bit helps!
    I got another baby quilt quilted this week and into my gift drawer! I’m pleased with the way this one turned out and my actual machine quilting skills are really getting better with each quilt I finish!
    Made more brownie mix for my canister and also made up a big batch of cookie mix for easy to put together, last-minute treats! I do love convenience, but I’m also glad to know what all the ingredients are in the foods I make and things we eat!
    I did our son and daughter-in-law’s taxes and was again amazed that with their combined $50k income and 4 kids that they have in 8 years whittled their mortgage down by over $40,000! At this rate, it will be completely paid off within 5 years and it is their only debt!! So proud of them!
    Downloaded on to Pinterest some more recipes, freezer cooking menu plans, quilt patterns, DIY projects for free! I’ve been actually USING some of them already!
    All in all, a very good week!!

  4. You do have such a lovely garden, but your blog seems to be a gardening blog now! I miss posts and photos about sewing, birthday parties, cooking, home decor projects, other thrifty ideas etc.

  5. I loved reading your list of accomplishments this week, Brandy. I love that you made some worn jeans into shorts, especially when you have warm weather most of the year. It’s a good feeling to need to buy clothing because you lost weight. Great buys on the garage sale finds, too! It was so nice of your dad to share is new plant with you. I wish we were cutting things from a garden, but all in good time. I was wondering, though, if you use the dandelion greens for salads or if you’ve ever made dandelion jelly from the flowers? I love the service project you are participating in, too!

    Our frugal accomplishments this week included the following:
    *I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies to use in my daughter’s lunches this week. I made up 5 baggies with 2 cookies in each, then quickly stepped out of the way as the family pounced on the rest! Seriously, what is it about choccolate chip cookies? My daughter enjoyed them so much, she requested them again for this coming week. So on Sunday, I made another batch.
    *Meals made at home this week included breaded chicken patties with tater tots and green beans, hamburger helper with leftover carrots, baked chicken smothered in cheddar cheese soup with broccoli and white rice, tacos/taco bake with salad, breakfast bowls, and breaded stuffed chicken breasts with mashed potatoes and corn.
    *Bought take out one night for dinner as a treat, using a gift card. Only paid just over $3 OOP.
    *Still trying to stay out of stores as much as possible right now to avoid spending too much. I did a larger run to Costco and bought some needed items, including extra of some that were on sale (shampoo, conditioner and peanut butter). Didn’t do my normal weekly grocery shopping this week, though I may go early next week to pick up some sale items.
    *Participated in Earth Hour by turning off nearly everything and used candles/battery powered laterns for light. In turn, this should save a bit on our hydro bill.
    *Volunteered at my work again this week. Recevied some bad news that a co-worker (a wonderful lady whom I’ve worked with closely and very much respect) was thrown from her horse while pleasure riding on Monday night. She was air lifted to a hospital in Toronto for testing and treatment. She has broken vertibrae (neck/spine) but it appears so far that her spinal cord is ok. She is currently in a halo and medically sedated to control movement. We are all hoping she will recover with no major perminent damage.
    *My daughter has had a cold for the last week that seemed to be getting worse, not better. After she woke the household one night complaining her ears wouldn’t pop, we kept her home from school and took her to the Dr’s. No secondary infections yet, but we will monitor. She cannot take any cold medications as it conflicts with other meds she takes. We can only give her acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help her discomfort. Thankful we have medical coverage in Canada, so no out of pocket expense.
    *Took my daughter to Pokemon Group for kids on the Autism spectrum. My daughter has so much fun socializing with this group. The kids battle each other with their Pokemon games, talk about their favourite subjects (mostly gaming), and laugh. It’s almost magical to watch as their little autistic worlds blend together in harmony…even if it is only for an hour and a half. Totally worth the $3 price tag!
    Life’s Joyful Moments:
    *In case there was any doubt about how much I love my cats, this should put it to rest. Our youngest male, Albert (A.K.A. “Bad Albert”), doesn’t like drinking out of a bowl very much. Every time he watched me drink from my water bottle, he’d get excited and wants to drink from it too. So I decided to get him his own water bottle…like the kind you use for rabbits, or other small animals. I am proud to say Albert LOVES his new bottle! We started by holding the bottle for him while he drank from it. Once he figured it out, we attached it to my “pie cabinet” that I store my spices in (it has an open, metal mesh insert on the door). If anyone else has a cat that prefers drinking from a dripping tap, this might work for you too!
    *”Bad Albert” has also been entertaining us lately with his special kitty powers. He has been jumping up on top of the fridge…as in straight up from the floor. That boy was born with springs in his feet and far too much curiousity! Now you know why he’s called “Bad Albert”.

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments! Hope you all have a wonderful week!:D

  6. Wow! The Days for Girls program is amazing! I’m going to have to look more into what I can do to help them, as that’s such a great cause. Also, have you ever tried eating dandelion leaves? Supposedly they’re edible, but I’ve never given them a shot.

    Our frugal accomplishments:

    * I cooked all food at home, including making a big batch of chili for when I went on a business trip Thursday-Saturday. There’s still a bunch of chili left, so I’ll probably push back the rest of the meals on my meal plan to give us enough time to eat all of it!

    * To go with the chili, I made a batch of cornbread that was super delicious! I used this recipe:, but I doubled it, then replaced the milk with a can of cream corn. I topped it all with a bit of cheddar cheese and baked it in a greased 9×13 for about 30 minutes. I’ll probably use a smaller pan next time, as the bread was only about an inch thick instead of the taller pieces I prefer, but other than that, it was delicious!

    * I tried making chickpea salad (as an imitation tuna salad), though it ended up tasting more like egg salad than tuna salad! I’ll have to try again soon to see if I can better replicate that tuna salad taste.

    * I picked up a few things from a local supermarket that were on a very good sale- 5lbs of potatoes for 88c (and a 25c back Checkout51 rebate), and 3 lbs of pasta for 66c a lb.

    * In preparation for my business trip, I made some homemade trail mix with a bit of nuts, some raisins, a little bit of chocolate chips, and lots of popcorn. I’ll get reimbursed for all of my other meals, but I wanted a snack just in case, and using popcorn in the trail mix bulks up the snack using a cheap ingredient (and it’s a whole grain!).

    As for what brought me joy this week- I’ve been meditating using the app Headspace, and it’s helped me reduce my blood pressure by 10 points so far! I’m hoping continued use will help me lower it further (another 10 points would put me under the “healthy” upper limit!). I want to avoid taking medication if I can, as it will not only increase costs on the insurance end, but some blood pressure medications can affect joints (at least, that I’ve heard). I’ve been trying to lower my blood pressure in other ways (lowering sodium, which had no effect, and increasing exercise, which does have an effect of about 5-10pts but is hard for me to do consistently with a constantly busy graduate-school schedule), so I’m happy to find a way that’s both effective and easier for me to fit into my schedule.

    I hope everyone else has had a good week!

  7. Hi, K!
    Do you use kelp in your mock tuna? I use that, a little soy sauce, lemon, salt and pepper and mix it into tofu and it’s not bad. Oops, I also use soy mayo. Letting it sit and meld helps, too.

  8. Sounds like another great week and Days for Girls sounds AWESOME! So many girls in developing countries don’t go to school simply because they don’t have the necessary feminine hygiene products. This changes that. Love!

    My own accomplishments:
    – Made some more tub scrub using old baking soda and powdered dehydrated clementine peels
    – Made some more pear sauce. So yummy! (
    – Accepted a mini bottle of mouth wash from my mum. She received it as a sample & doesn’t use it, but the DH does.
    – Made tofu fritters for the first time. I’m always looking for additional sources of vegetarian protein for me that both the DH and I will eat, but am personally not fond of tofu. I found a recipe for tofu fritters and they turned out well! Even though I only had silken tofu (and the recipe called for extra firm tofu), I just added some extra spelt flour (bought at a local bulk store) and it turned out fine. I didn’t have the fresh carrots that the recipe called for, so I just used some of the carrots I had blanched and frozen in the fall when they were dirt cheap. The recipe made enough for dinner for the DH and I, and I packed the remainder for two lunches for me and another dinner for the DH and I.
    – I’ve been trying to use up odds and ends from my pantry, and made a black bean & quinoa salad for work lunches for me for the week, but used couscous that I had in the pantry as opposed to buying quinoa. I also used the black beans that my sister had given me a few months ago, plus I added in some home-dehydrated celery too, instead of fresh.
    – I dehydrated more clementine peels, a pineapple, as well as half a yellow pepper and half a red pepper.
    – I bought organic, open-pollinated nasturtium seeds at the Canada Blooms garden show. Since I plan to collect seeds from this year’s plants to grow for next year, I hope to never have to buy nasturtium seeds again! Plus, since they are organic, I can happily eat the flowers and leaves and not worry about pesticide residue. I would never have known that nasturtiums were edible, if not for this blog!
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift certificate
    – Baked buttermilk biscuits using my homemade yoghurt (watered down just slightly) instead of buttermilk.
    – I made paranthas! They’re a type of Indian flatbread, all flaky and yummy and perfect for sopping up bits of curry. I’m practicing making them as my contribution to a dinner this Sunday. They only use flour, salt, milk, and a bit of olive oil.
    – A few years ago, I was thinking about my life and the life I wanted to lead in the future, and what sort of things I needed to do now to live that life (in other words, being very intentional in creating a life that gives me happiness, and comfort, and joy). One of the things I decided, was to start a cookbook supperclub, and invited the foodies from my different friend groups. We all vote (via a free surveymonkey survey that I put together) on the cookbook (I borrow it from the library) to cook from (so we’re always learning new skills and trying new recipes), and everyone signs up to bring a dish from that cookbook so that we end up with an appetizer, a main, a side (or two), and a dessert (or two). We rotate hosts, to make it easier on the host (all they provide is drinks, utensils, and cutlery) and because we all live in different parts of the city (so no one has to travel a huge distance all the time). This time we’re cooking from a Jamie Oliver cookbook, with one person making a chicken curry, myself making paranthas, and others making various other dishes. I’m really looking forward to it! Plus, it’s an extremely frugal way to make friends, maintain friends, and eat a delicious meal (and bonus, yummy leftovers to go home with, which keeps all the spouses happy)!
    – Made a spinach and blue cheese quiche, based on Brandy’s recipe
    – Baked a vegan spice cake with vegan coconut buttercream frosting, to bring to a party as a gift, using all pantry ingredients. It was a hit, with everyone going back for seconds!

    As for simple things that I did and found joy in? Eating that pear sauce! So delicate and pure and yummy! 🙂 Oooh, and my forced tulips have been blooming, and I’ve really enjoyed have vibrantly coloured fresh flowers in the house! Gives me a sense of satisfaction every time I see them.

  9. Hi, Brandy! I wanted to let you know that we finally tried your chicken fried steak recipe. It’s going on regular rotation; so good! Even my husband raved about it!
    *Frugal wise, I’ve been working really hard on not being lazy and saving water. I’ve saved dish rinsing water and put it in the washer. I’ve watered plants and added some to the dog dish. I saved the water from boiling eggs and that went in the washer, too. The dehumidifier water also goes in the washer. Between my being gone several weeks between Jan. And Feb. and an actual reading, or last bill was about 30% lower. I’ve stopped taking a shower every day,too. I’m determined to figure this out.
    *I sold a few things on eBay. This gives me extra spending money for things we need and want. I ordered some bentonite clay to try my hand at making toothpaste. I’ve made it before with soda, not a favorite. I’ve also ordered some bamboo toothbrushes. They’re flying in from China, so that does no environmental good, really.
    *We stopped using our old C.C. and finally ordered a new one that gives cash back. My husband went on line and used the old points to order a nice stack of gift cards. I’ll hold some of these back for Christmas gifts.
    *I’ve been a walking fool at the Tribal center. I’ll have quite a bit of ” free” money to spend at the farmers market!
    *Working on bringing the energy bill down. I’ve been experimenting with hanging a few things to dry rather than using the dryer. Or, running the dryer a shorter length of time and then hanging. Our last bill for electric was lower, as well as the gas. Plus, I’ve been trying to use the crockpot and toaster oven more often.
    *I worked an extra day this week. This will come in handy when my co-op order comes in. I’m on a tear to ‘try’ to be more conscience of what we eat and use on our bodies and in our home. So much to do and learn!
    *I cleaned a few cupboards and rearranged the baking area. This house is so small that even a few inches is a big deal. I also ordered more gamma lids for my buckets. That was almost fun to label and fill. It showed me where I need to get a bit more or not so much.
    *I made a batch of peanut butter cookies following a Martha recipe. (I’m trialling cookies for Christmas.) They were a bit fiddly and not very exciting so I think I’ll pass on those. But, the husband liked them.
    *My joy, in recent weeks, has been walkIng at the Tribal center. I so hated giving up running. This has been a close second and I’m so happy to feel (almost) like my old self after so long. I’ve really missed her!!
    Wishing everyone a peaceful week!

  10. I kept busy the last two weeks; I had a couple of job interviews so spent most of my after work time learning about the companies I was interviewing with, prepping for the interview questions, etc. It took out so much of me that I dropped a ball on keeping it frugal.
    Namely, there were a few of take-outs, a few coffees out, I also purchased a purse and a pair of pants (I did not need either of them), both from a second hand store so it did not completely destroy my wallet, but still.
    I guess some weeks are better than other. Starting tomorrow, back on the wagon, new frugal week.
    Wishing everyone a great Sunday!

  11. I’ve lost my house keys, but while looking for them, I found a vegetable peeler that had slipped behind a pull-out section of kitchen counter. It is a great peeler, so I am glad to have found it. Also noticed an electrical outlet behind the same counter, which would be a perfect place to plug in a microwave. I’ve been in this house nearly seven years and never found a good place to plug one in before now!

    Made oatmeal cookies. The last few things I have baked have tasted a little stodgy, so I was careful to use measuring spoons, level the ingredients in the measuring spoons and cups, and lower the temperature and cooking time in my oven. The cookies were great. I also made smaller cookies, so I had more of them. I had one that didn’t fit on the two cookie sheets. Instead of eating the dough raw or adding a bit to a few cookies, I moved cookies around until the dough for the extra cookie would fit.

    I’ve bought supplies to try making some simple kinds of cheese and homemade tortillas.

    Returned empty bottles and milk cartons to the bottle depot, for a refund of $11.00 on deposits.

    Was asked to sit on the board for the local regional college. I am really interested in their work; it will also provide a little compensation.

  12. I just got home from church. Had an amazing service today. Our pastor started a new series called Cross Roads. It was wonderful and I have some ideas to put into practice.

    Got some free books at the library. Have read 4 this past week. (I do not watch TV much at all, so I read, with ear plugs in, while the family will watch a movie)

    I found a sale today at the grocery store that made my year. Our local grocer store had ground turkey for .99 cents a pound. I cook for our dogs because of their special diets. I got 65 pounds of the turkey, enough to last the rest of the year. My freezer is very full now but that is fine. I can relax the rest of the year and not think about finding turkey or chicken at a good price.

    We got some radishes and broccoli from the garden. Planted some more wild flower seeds in the beds on the side of the house.

    Went to the thrift store for the first time since Jan. I found some amazing shoes in like new condition for $4.00. These are very nice classic flats that I can wear all summer with jeans or a skirt. I am looking for a summer bag but so far have not found anything that will work for me.

    Hope everyone has a nice week.

  13. Days For Girls is a great program! I am involved with a similar program in the states:

    We supply “period packs” for homeless and underserved women and girls. We donate these to 100+ facilities in SC, NC, GA, CT, CA, and soon VA monthly – and to homeless women, shelters, resettled refugees, schools, free medical clinics, food banks, Red Cross, etc. I love the sustainable facet of DfG, though!

  14. As always love the pictures!
    – filled in a survey for work to make some money
    -proposed a new idea for work to increase the ability to see patients. Everyone loved it and it will be implemented next month. Granted it will be a few hours of extra work, but those will be compensated. As a salaried employee this is the only way I can up my income.
    – submitted receipts for myself and my husband for reimbursement. Since we already have spent the money, I’m hoping the checks we get back can go into savings.
    – washed and used cloth diapers
    – worked on a free photo book for my son and my daughter
    – knit a bit on a baby hat. It needs to be done this weekend!
    – pumped enough breastmilk for the baby that she didn’t need formula while I was at work!
    – decluttered our basement and sold some of the stuff!
    – packed lunches for everyone for last week
    – paid an electrician to put a heater into my son’s room. That wasn’t particularly frugal, but it was necessary and when he came in 400 over the expected quote, he nicely accepted only 300 over when I asked.
    – menu planned for this upcoming week

    Spent time snuggling the baby, playing with the used hand-me-down wooden train set with my son, petting my good ‘ol beautiful dog, dreamed about the day in the future when I’m done training and won’t have to work so hard, and had some wonderful quiet time with my husband.

    Have a great week!

  15. I made chicken broth from the chicken I cooked last Sunday, chicken and dumplings using the leftover chicken and homemade broth (from scratch dumplings), potato soup (Brandy’s recipe, except mine turned a light orange from the carrot lol very pretty actually) using potatoes that had sprouted and my hubby wanted to throw away, Goji berry cookies, lemon/chia seed muffins, yogurt, chocolate hummus (Oh my…..soooo good!). My hubby brought home free food that no one wanted from his work. I did not make any food ahead of time for the week because we have lots of leftovers in the fridge that need to be eaten up.

    Ran all my errands Friday after work so I could stay home over the weekend. I also had to take my mother to the store. I had a little bit of money that I could use to buy some food so I purchased two gallons of milk that was marked down at Aldi for .99 a gallon (!) and the date isn’t for another week, a package of cream cheese marked down to .69, potatoes, and a few other things.

    I cleaned using my homemade all purpose cleaner, treated a slow drain with vinegar/baking soda and boiling hot water, soaked our toothbrushes in boiling water to kill germs (I’ve been doing this weekly to help get rid of the yuck that’s been going around).

    We FINALLY got our truck back after the garage had it for 4 weeks! WOOHOO! Not frugal, though, but this was what brought me joy this week!

    I took all meals and snacks to work with me from home, drank water and free coffee

    I exchanged books and kids movies at the library, watched free documentaries on youtube

    Perused Pinterest to find a tutorial on how to patch a hole in the inner thighs of my jeans. I found one that is supposed to be easy. I haven’t done it yet but will soon.

    Stayed home!

  16. We had to take our 16 year-old dog into the vet’s and say our final good-bye. He was very sick and we knew his quality of life was not good anymore. Pets aren’t frugal at all but they are a joy to have and we will always miss him. I find myself looking for him around the house all the time.

    I have gone back to making most of our bread. Last week I made a loaf of whole wheat and this week I made rye bread. I have forgotten how absolutely delicious homemade bread is.

    I made Greek yogurt.

    I shortened my granddaughter’s costume for a play she is in with her homeschooling group.

    Our youngest daughter is moving from 2 hours away to a new job closer to us. We are thrilled! Now, all of our children will be living near us again. Until she can find another place to live, she will be staying with us and commuting to her new job in the city. She will probably be with us for a couple of months. Again, not very frugal but she has offered to help with groceries and she is bringing her beautiful cat with her.

    My husband has been moved to the day shift (finally!) so we work all day and come home to spend our evenings together. I am hoping this new schedule will make a difference in our utility bills.

    We make our coffee every morning to take with us to work. We make our lunches the night before to take with us each day. I made a Brussels sprouts salad and split pea soup for our lunches one week and tuna salad and leaf lettuce salads another week.

  17. Thank you for sharing about Days for Girls! What an eye opener!

    I had a very busy week….all meals were homemade except for one lunch out for Thai soup with an old friend. Considering the hectic work week that I had, I am proud of myself for keeping up with all of the cooking. 🙂 Made two batches of granola for hubby and homemade trail mix for him. Came in under budget for food for the week.

    I had stocked up on bell peppers when they were on sale last week three for $1. With these I made and assembled vegetarian stuffed peppers which turned out fantastic (one set with a brown rice base and the other set with quinoa).

    I love interior design and wanted to add some spring touches to the family room. I bought one new small pretty green pillow from TJMaxx and then shopped the house for other green items and rearranged a few things and it looks great.

    Gardening: picked roses for the house from the yard. Bought a new hose on sale for $5 off. Harvested a lone avocado from our tree which was fantastic. Our apricot tree has baby apricots!!!! So exciting.

    Have a great week!

  18. My pantry challenge last week was successful. I didn’t end up buying anything other than milk/almond milk. I decided to move my shopping for food for this week to Friday instead of Saturday because I had the extra time. In addition to the last of my grocery money for the current month, I redeemed Ibotta rebates for a $25 Walmart gift card and a $25 Target gift card. Some of the things I ended up buying actually had Ibotta rebates, so I used their rebates to earn more rebates!

    Thanks to a tip on Money Saving Mom, I saw a coupon code for $5 off a $30 Olive Garden To-Go order. My son had gotten a $25 gift card for his birthday, so he “donated” it to treat our family to dinner on Friday. We ordered 2 of the Buy One, Take One dinners and a kids’ meal. I paid $2 (plus the gift card). We ate a feast on Friday, with enough leftovers to have for dinner tonight.

    Because I had shopped on Friday, I had some free time on Saturday morning to prep 14 crockpot meals for the freezer. My daughter helped out by making brownies and chocolate chip cookies for snacks for this week. I told my family that we have plenty of food to keep us well-fed for the next week, so I would not be going to the store at all. This will save me time and money.

    I was able to get a copy of a cookbook from my local library instead of buying it.

    Finally, my husband and I are enjoying an ongoing game of Super Scrabble, and my youngest 2 children (9 and 12) are enjoying putting together a 1000 piece puzzle the 9-year-old got for his birthday. Both things are free, but fun entertainment!

    Have a good week everyone!

  19. My kid is still in the hospital, day 6, I am thankful for modern medicine, That is what I find joy in today…..and I am so grateful. Hospital stays are never easy, but it sure beats what would have happened to my kid a hundred years ago. I will take a hospital bill any day over a funeral bill. Frugality today? He is covered under my insurance until next month,

  20. The only “extra” thing I did last week was make my daughter’s birthday cake. I did an ombre rosette cake in blue. It turned out well for the first try doing it…it was enough to make a 6-year old girl feel very special on her birthday.

  21. I admire your great and thankful attitude. You are so blessed to have your son one more month on your insurance. Hope he mends quickly!

  22. I am so sorry to hear about your dog. It is always such a difficult thing to do. It sounds like he had a long and happy life, though, which is all that you can ask for a much loved pet.

  23. I sat down and evaluated the successes and failures of my winter garden. I figured the costs of the supplies and decided it was worth the effort. However, next year, no wait, this fall, will be better. I made many mistakes and plan to learn from them, hopefully others will learn from them also. Winter vegetable gardening is possible far into the colder climates. I have documented how the garden survived month by month and do encourage others to plan on trying it this fall.

    Winter Garden 2016-2017 Evaluation.

    This post explains what I have covered in all of the winter posts. Winter Garden, Sunlight Hours

    I am not an expert. Only a person who keeps trying.


  24. Our cat, who is 15.5 and actually dying from a couple different things, hasn’t gotten the message yet from her body! We have been seeing dusty footprints across the kitchen floor for a couple weeks. Finally my husband followed her to the basement and found that she was drinking from the SUMP PUMP!! Yuck. He covered it, and hopes she will drink from the fresh water fountain that has always been upstairs with fresh water in it!! Cats are so contrary! She is eating as much as she possibly can (prescription food) but her weight is down to just over 6 lbs. She looks like a walking skeleton, but seems to be feeling fine despite her troubles. Still making us laugh just as much as ever.

  25. It is been kind of a strange week for me, but I managed to keep my spending down. I went to a salvage store and due to an abundance of drug store items, they had a sale for 3 for $1.00 . I spent quite a while digging in boxes. I purchased 45 items for $15.00. My haul included several containers of Olay Regenerest and a replenishment of all allergy and cold related products including 6 bottles of Flonase. I was happy to score several high dollar baby shampoo’s. ( I think they are called Mustela ? ) Our budget is so limited this is the only way we can have these luxury items. I received a 10.00 off a 10.00 purchase coupon at CVS and bought 5 bottles of laundry detergent on sale at 1.99. My son has a book bag that is made by the Swiss Army Knife company. This was a deal at Staples where you received the value of the bag back in store credit. I spent the 100.00 and used the credit to stock up on paper and ink . Well, after 7 years , the book bag has all of a sudden kind of unraveled like dry rot. It has a life time warranty on it. I am going to send it in and see what happens. He goes to college in the fall and if we receive another one it will be great. If not, I can say that was the best one hundred dollars I ever spent. Meanwhile , I went to the thrift store and picked up a book bag for him to finish his school year with. $4.00 for that purchase. I drove into the city today . I loaned a close friend my pickup truck about 6 months ago .My son helped me to go pick it up. My friend sent it back to me with a full tank of gas. I am so grateful for that. I have about three truck loads of stuff to take to Goodwill so I am happy to have my little truck back. While we were waiting for him, I stopped at a nearby thrift store and picked my daughter up a pair of shorts, capris and a nice silky t shirt. Today was half price day , so I only spent 5.00. We have gotten much better at not eating out. I am cooking 3 big meals each week and we eat the leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. We hang our laundry out but the pollen is getting bad here. We will start hanging it up in the house . I went up to the laundry mat last night to dry a load of my clothes since it was raining. I really am getting more frugal in my old age. Sitting on a trash can was a huge trash bag stuffed full of whites. Looking a little closer the bag looked like brand new linen from a hotel/motel. I tool about 24 wash clothes to use in my kitchen for cleaning. Strange find ! They were white and crisp like new. No smell or stains. We don’t have any so I am happy to have them.

  26. My husband joined me in a clean out in our bedroom closet. The Viet Vets truck is coming on Tuesday, and I have 4 garbage bags of clothing to donate. Happy to get the extras out of our closet space! I needed his help because many of the clothes came from his side of the closet.

    Our meals for the week were frugal–spaghetti with sausage twice, meatloaf twice–the second time as cold sandwiches with just made bread. That was a craving of mine and we both enjoyed them. Crab cakes one night (sale+coupon deal) which we enjoy rarely. Rice-A-Roni (low sodium) with added chicken breast cubes and steamed broccoli. The other night was BBQ at our favorite BBQ spot–we were nearby ordering husband new lenses for his glasses.

    It was a week of appointments–for me, for the cat, and for the husband. I went to the dentist for a cleaning & checkup–with no problems. The cat had routine blood work and we need to get more medicine to start for her–will pick it up tomorrow. Husband had an appointment with the eye doctor–no problems, but needed to replace lenses because of scratches.

    Joy came along when all the running around was done, and I had time to catch up on laundry! Nothing like an empty laundry basket to make your day complete.

  27. I’ve not heard of Days for Girls, and will follow your link to learn about it when I finish commenting. I know you don’t need another thing to add to an already full plate, but I wonder if you’ve considered doing anything with the dandelions? Being you’re already “harvesting” them, you might consider throwing the flowers in a jar and steeping them with oil to use for body care products. The leaves and roots can be used for food and medicine. I expect you know this already, but just in case you don’t, you can find plenty of information online. Your garden harvest has me anticipating warmer days! Joining in here:

  28. Oh my gosh! This is a genius idea regarding the water bottle for the cats! We have been using a shallow plate in a second location, as I’d noticed they didn’t drink from the bowl. This would be so much neater. I must give it a try – thank you!

  29. When I was growing up my mom often served us dandelion greens for a vegetable. They would be picked before they flower which is when they are less bitter. I’m not sure how she prepared them but I do remember them being boiled with butter and salted. I have also heard of them being used in salads and I’m sure they could be steamed. And of course the dandelions can’t be treated with chemicals.

  30. Susannah, I am so glad to hear of a project for the homeless here in the U.S. There are over 30,000 homeless people in our area, and over 3,000 of them are high-school students.

    I think your program is wonderful. I will suggest it to those who are looking for meaningful service projects here. Thank you so much for sharing!

  31. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Here is our frugal accomplishments for the week –

    Financial –
    – So far this month we have saved $1616.01 toward saving for our home with cash bank account.
    – We used what we were under in our grocery budget for January and February being $200 to purchase all of our groceries for April ahead of time.
    – We had further family financial discussions to reduce expenses to increase saving for our home with cash. Here is the things we will be implementing using cheaper grocery brands by trying them first to see if they are worthwhile to use, cutting out some budget categories such as clothing and buying any clothing needed out of the gardening budget, or under budget in groceries or from earnings from my handcrafted items online for sale and concentrating on only buying more grocery items when on 20 – 50% off sales.

    Groceries –
    – Purchased 1 packet of almonds discounted by $3.
    – Purchased 10 family roast chickens at 25 – 33% off sales saving $52.80 on regular prices and we now have enough chicken until December.
    – Topped up our grocery storage further by purchasing 2 x 24pk TP, 12 tins of baked beans and 8 tins of champignons.
    – Grocery prices are continuing to rise here with butter going up $1 per 500g block in the last two months 😮 .

    Garden –
    – Picked 2.695kg of capsicums and 300g of cherry tomatoes from the gardens.

    Kitchen –
    – Washed, chopped and froze capsicums to increase supplies in the freezer.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Power –
    – Continued using our solar lanterns to light the home rather than use mains powered lighting.
    – Washed and cooked in cheapest electricity times.

  32. Isabella,

    This time of year is when I do the most work in the garden. I really want to be able to harvest more this year from the garden, and I have been making major changes out there–ripping out trees, wheelbarrowing in yards and yards of new dirt, planting new trees, running new water lines, and planting. It’s a lot more than I usually do each spring, but in the end, I should be able to harvest lots of good things for our table. It’s a very important part of the budget in the long run, and it’s where I’ve been spending every moment I can this year, trying to work as fast as I can before the heat comes. Once it gets too hot, I won’t be able to do these things again until next year. I don’t want to wait another year to harvest more from the garden, which is why I’m spending all the time I can out there.

    And while I still have many things to do outside, in a couple of weeks, it will be too late to do many of them. I am already too late for several things that I needed to do out there. Last year it was 95ºF in mid-April. In other places, that’s a mid-summer temperature. Here, it’s just the beginning of it being too hot for most plants to produce. By planting as early as possible, I may be able to put more food on our plates.

    I did get a chance to do a bit of sewing on windy days and in the evenings however, and I have a project that I’ll be sharing this week. And I have a recipe I’m going to share this week too!

    Thanks for your feedback; I truly appreciate it. I am looking forward to doing a lot of sewing in April and I will have lots of projects that I hope to complete and share. I’ve also got a few birthdays coming up and I have some fun things planned for the occasions.

    Thanks for your patience.

  33. Lisa, we use dandelion greens in salads before they flower, while they are still tender & not bitter. I have 4 plants that grow in their own salad bed, to prevent them being sprayed “by mistake”. After the flowers come, I use them as a spinach alternative, cooking them any way that I would cook spinach – boil, steam, saute, etc. We find the cooking removes the bitterness. Along the Wasatch Front, dandelions are up & growing well at least a month before lettuce will grow, other than under cloche, & I find the dandelions keep growing long after the lettuce & spinach both have bolted.

  34. * Last week we were blessed with some wonderful gifts! My Daddy came into a little bit of money and knew we were worried about our property tax bill that is coming up. So he went to the electric company and paid our upcoming bill so we wouldn’t have to worry about it! Then he went to the local butcher and brought us a big bag of fresh meat. I had so much fun preparing that meat for freezing! I’ve been wanting some beef and was thrilled to find some in that bag!

    * My oldest son’s girlfriend is building a chicken coop, so we brought her some tin we had put away a while back. While we were at her house, she gave me a gorgeous, bright red Guess handbag! Red is my favorite color and she knew my old purse was falling apart. Wasn’t that sweet?!?!

    *She also gave me some plants to put in my English garden that I keep talking about making, but keep putting off. Now I have no excuse to put it off because I need to get those plants in the ground. She gave me some succulents & some spiderwort. She also gave me a Dragon Cayenne pepper plant that I’ll be potting.

    *Another friend is giving us bee-keeping supplies (her ex-husband kept bees but they’ve been untouched since he left) so I’ve been scouring the internet for beginner info on bee keeping and watching lots of YouTube videos about it. So grateful that I can learn anything from the internet for free!

    *I found ham at my buy price and got a couple of them. I cooked one this week and got four meals out of it. The first night was sliced ham, the second night was cheesy ham & potato casserole, the third night was black-eyed peas cooked with the ham bone and the rest was cut up and frozen to use in a casserole next month.

    * My sweet baby grandson came to spend the week with us. He was definitely our entertainment all week! At 11 months old, he brings joy everywhere he goes and we soaked it up all week long!

    * My wild irises are blooming in the backyard right now. My sons each picked one for me and they are displayed in my kitchen so I can enjoy their purple beauty.

    It was a great week!

  35. Hello everyone! It’s so good to read what everyone is doing. Here’s how things went at our house this week:
    – I finally planted some seeds in the garden! We had about 2 1/2 days of relatively dry weather so I pounced. I planted leeks, green onions, carrots, radishes, snow and shell peas, spinach, cabbage, kale, broccoli, and lettuce. In another couple of weeks I’ll plant more. I’m going for a continuous harvest this year.
    – We have saved most of the things we need for baby #3 from the first two, so I wasn’t going to have a baby shower. However, my good friend insisted we do something and invited a few friends and me out for dinner. She paid for a great italian dinner for me and I received several outfits and some burp cloths. It was a fun night.
    – My mom came to visit one day and we spent the time making 8 freezer meals. I now have 14 crockpot meals, 6 pizzas, several batches of cooked taco meat and shredded cheese ready for d-day!
    – My daughter has been trying out Khan Academy for her first grade math. She really likes it. I like that it’s free and that it lets her move past the things she already knows and works on the things she doesn’t. It won’t be our complete math curriculum, but it is nice to have something new to add.
    – My husband and I had a date night at a friend’s house. We brought some board games and popcorn to share. They also provided snacks and introduced us to a few games we haven’t seen before.

  36. My largest frugal problem is lack of income
    My week in review the twins turned one I had purchased two dolls after Christmas 3.00 each
    I purchased two decorated donors one dollar placed a candle in each
    Hubbys toe got infected covered by insurance
    Washed car at home
    Used gift cards from rebates for groceries and gas
    Cleaned the house with vinegar serviced my own vacuum cleaner
    Cut hubby and grand sons hair
    Did lots of mending
    Joy this week
    Twins birthday
    Hubby did not get too sick from infected toe
    Went on bike rides
    Drive in the country with hubby
    Income last week 105.00

  37. I found out I got accepted to the MSN program To which I applied. I want to become a Family Nurse Practitioner! The program I’ll do is all online save for clinical rotations with local DR’s & Nurse Practitioners!

    It was my long week at work. So not time for much. I eat free at work as working in a prison doesn’t allow us to bring our own food & drink in.

    Got free magazines, glamour Country Living, Southern Living. I’m a magazine junkie! Lol. Don’t buy them anymore, they’re all free thanks to Recyclebank!

  38. It has been a busy week. We had to have our cesspools drained for $1000. Paid our Federal taxes over $1000. Thank goodness we have money in savings.
    – My son loves key lime pie. I was at Dollar Tree and they had a mix for it. Bought one and he has been eating it all week. He said it was good not great. For $1 I’ll take good. I got 5 dozen eggs at the store too. That’s the cheapest around here.
    – Made ham omelets with leftover birthday ham.
    – Worked 2 extra shifts this week because we have been super busy with Beauty and the Beast. My boss treated me to lunch since I came in on a Sunday. I saved my lunch for the next day.
    – My husband had to go out of state for the day for his job. He gets meals reimbursed so he picked up lunch and dinner for free. I sent him with drinks and snacks in a cooler. He came home with leftovers.
    -My daughter texted me from school if 2 friends could come over after. I had already taken meat out for dinner but there wasn’t enough to stretch it so I put it in the fridge for the next day. I ended up making pancakes with cinnamon apples. The apples were from the discount produce rack. 12 big apples for $1.49.
    -Finished planting my seeds that needed to be started indoors.
    -Did the basics, cooked all meals, everyone brought lunch to work/school, hung clothes on lines and drying racks, baked snacks, made more dog food, paid bills online to avoid using stamps.

  39. Our three youngest terrors/cats prefer to drink from the toilet. I also had to mount a command hook where the dog’s water bucket is because 2 of them thought it was great fun to dump it! The other older cats drink from the dogs water bucket and bowl but get very disgusted looks on their faces when the dog slobbers in it.

  40. I am in love with what Days for girls is doing and have the desire to participate in sewing for them. I use the same type of products they put in the kits myself and love them. I found out about them a few months ago so it’s quite interesting that you mentioned them this week. This brought them back to the front of my mind and I really need to contact my local leader. Someone else mentioned Little Dresses for Africa and that also sounds like a great opportunity for me. Thanks for setting such a great example Brandi! It’s totally possible to be frugal and also contribute to the lives of others.

  41. We moved to Arizona and I finally feel a little more settled in so I have been following the grocery ads better. Found out Safeway has a $5 meat sale on Fridays. While I was there they had London Broil on sale ! Was 8.99 a lb but on sale for 1.97 a lb. There is just my DH and I so this will be enough for 2 meals. The pkg I bought I paid 2.99 for. Their lamb chops were on sale too. I bought 2 pkgs that had 3 chops in each. They were three dollars and change each. My DH does not like lamb so more for me 🙂 They also had a $5 off if you purchase $50. Plus I earned points to use towards gas. They also had pineapple for .99 each. Sprouts had blackberries for .99 a pint PS: anyone have a good recipe for london broil?

  42. I went thru a season of being less frugal because I was doing things to “make” money. Looking back I realize that I was NOT making money with what I was doing and my family/marriage/home were suffering. This past week here was spring break. We did some projects around the house, and spent some time helping family members who needed some things done. I went thru my 3 and 5 year old’s clothes and realized there is very little that will fit them this summer. I made 2 dresses from fabric I was gifted and turned a pair of jeans that had a hole into a cute little pair of shorts. I tried out a thrift store I heard good things about but didn’t find anything that I had to have so I’ll wait until another day. My mom watched all 5 of the kids (unexpectedly!!) for an evening so that my husband and I could go out. We weren’t sure what we wanted to do so we decided to go pick up milk and a free jar of salsa from the grocery store. We ran into hubbys sister and her husband while we were shopping and they invited us to come over for a visit after we were done with our shopping. We had a really fun date night/game night with hubbys siblings and I got to get some baby snuggle time with my little nephew. I dehydrated apples and bananas for snacks using up gifted apples and marked down bananas that no one was eating. My dad was put on a special diet so my mom cleared out the freezers and cabinets at her house and gifted us with all the things that they no longer eat. There was some really fun stuff that I never buy along with some things I’ll have to find recipes for. I put away a couple of boxes of cookies for a special family game night, some jelly beans for Easter baskets, and some graham crackers and marshmallows to use for making smores this summer. I made jelly using the peels/cores from apples. I made cookie dough and froze it in balls so that I can make cookies at a moments notice if needed. (end of the school year I always end up with a kid or two “needing to bring a snack for one reason or another). Hubby made some calls and got one bill lowered. We’ve started seriously looking for alternatives to our home phone service. It was a busy week!

  43. I bought organic broccoli on sale, which my husband doesn’t love, but I do. He’ll eat it as a side dish, once, so I cooked it as a side dish for one meal and saved the rest, throwing it into a big pan of stir fry, which he loves. He ate that broccoli right up that way.
    My youngest grandkids came for a visit and had a great time playing with the yard sale wooden puzzles I had bought and thrift store play desk that I refurbished.
    I planted herbs, which I had bought on a BOGO sale from a local nursery, into the new raised bed we built with free materials. I potted the peppermint and have it on our porch, though, to keep it from taking over the whole bed. I have potted spearmint and lemon balm as well — they are so tasty in drinks and dishes, and so good for unhappy tummies.
    I looked at a sale on blackberries but put them back. I will try to get free blackberries again this year — they grow wild all around us, and if we get enough rain, we should have berries.
    I mended a pillowcase and a sheet hem.
    I bought four used dresses — I’m still pretty low on dresses, so I am trying to build back up.
    What’s brought me joy is the very nice weather we’ve been having — it won’t last for long here in Florida, so I’m loving it while we have it.
    I enjoyed my little grandchildren’s visit.
    I am enjoying getting ready for my mission trip this summer.

  44. Brandy, I’ve seen from other frugal blogs that dandelions are edible and perfectly delicious in a salad. If the weed returns, maybe you can eat them as well.

    And thank you for your work in Days for Girls! I too want to be part of that project but I have no sewing skills and have never used a sewing machine. Instead, I am trying to gain experience by sewing port pillows for cancer patients. They are easy to make – just stuffed squares with velcro sewn on – so they are a great way for beginner sewers to want to give back.

  45. Brandy,
    Mavis, over at 100 Dollars a Month just featured her friends tutorial on making reusable feminine pads. Don’t know if this might be a help to any readers who are interested in this.

  46. I love all your garden posts! So nice, and really makes me look forward to that season here! I also found your frugal birthdays page and really enjoyed it.

    Its funny that you mention the dandelions. I usually really like finding those in our yard, because it means free greens and I harvest the blooms for tea. Funny how we all have different uses for things.

    Our frugal joy this week was just watching our boys spend some fun time with family. The two of them really made me laugh at the park and in the bath the other night. It is so fun to watch their love for each other grow, even with the little one just a baby.

    I hope you’ll stop by to check out our other frugal accomplishments!

  47. I think your posts are authentic as they are. You are living seasonally and frugally and that means your activities follow that. Being a good frugalista means turning your hand and rolling up your sleeves to many, many tasks. A lot of my posts at this time of year are about gardening and preserving but that is where our efforts are concentrated in order to make the bulk of our food for the next twelve months. I’ll bet there are readers who wish I would do more knitting projects but I’m being completely authentic and I NEVER knit in summer. Keep it real Brandy, and just keep showing us a way of frugal living that you do with such elegance and grace.

  48. I grew up with dandelion tea, jelly, wine, blossoms dipped in batter and fried, leaves wilted, boiled, fried and raw. My Dad found a few the other day and was picking them and the neighbor asked what he was doing as he was putting them in a pan of water. When Dad said cleaning them to eat the neighbor called my brother panicked because he thought Dad was “lost” He has mild dementia, probably thought my brother was “lost” also as he answered he was hoped Dad had enough to share with him at dinner. LOL

  49. Hi Brandy,
    Out of curiosity, do you weigh your produce that you harvest and then record it with the intentions of seeing how much you would have spent at the store for the same? I think this would be a really interesting eyeopener as to how much intentional gardening pays off.

  50. Brandy I love your gardening info… question would be do you set a time you sew or is it just when it’s needed now or what?
    I found some nasturtium seeds for 50¢ a package.Been seeing it for over $1. It looks like everything I covered is going to be okay after that last freezing bout of weather after spring like temps. A bit of frost burnt on some tips that will need pruned back on the herbs but overall they look like them made it. The mints haven’t started growing yet so I don’t know about them. I found 3 bookcases at a thrift shop for $15 for all 3,had to take all 3 . The largest is way too big for our house so I put it in “storage” in the garage with plans to move it to the farrowing house that we use for long term storage. Daughter that just moved mentioned she was looking for an entertainment center type thing for free… we will be delivering it to her next time we make the trip down, probably 2 wks. I loaded Sam’s scan and go app to my phone, looks like a good deal.Used the drying rack as the rain has stopped the use of the clothes line. Turned off furnace during the day when it was warm, open and closed curtains based on sunlight, washed foil, plastic bags, kept bread bags (put chicken guts that we don’t eat in one and put it in freezer until trash goes to road otherwise it smells and we get coons messing with the trash, our dogs don’t mess with trash cans )

  51. Laurie,

    I tried one year, but it quickly became a huge use of time every day that I just didn’t have time to do. When I harvest things like fruit it can be quite a huge amount (Like my very large table and my counters covered completely in peaches, grapes, or lemons) and then for little things like herbs, lettuce and arugula it doesn’t weigh much; I just pick what we need as I go.

  52. I definitely have the frugal down pat .The income is an issue I cannot improve. Unexpected medical issues have about destroyed me. And yet, we have everything we need and most of what we want. I am grateful each day to seeing my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother bleed turnips. I learned from the best. Life is actually less stressful. Twins must be a great blessing. How lucky you are.

  53. You got a lot done this week! It shows how much can get accomplished even if there isn’t much money coming in. Now that spring is coming here, I’d like to clean my car too, inside and out.

    What fun to have birthday celebration for two one-year olds. I’m glad your husband is OK

  54. Hi Laurie from Australia 🙂 , and I record everything we pick from the gardens with weights and write prices we pay in our local shops on a spreadsheet on what our garden saves us in a year less our expenses. It is really an eye opener on what it does actually save us throughout the year.

    We do run into a few problems as well in regard to large harvests such as pumpkins and sweet potatoes but have found our scales in bathroom we weigh ourselves on are useful for the large harvests. I do agree it is very time consuming to do it constantly though.

    Blessed that we have more time to do that as we are empty nesters though. It is our way of doing a gardening budget and reducing our expenses ie a cost benefit analysis. We also save seeds and sell them from the gardens and add the earnings from that to our spreadsheet too. This month alone we have earned $27.60 from selling the seeds we save from our garden harvests and we also save enough seeds to plant our next few crops as well.

    I hope this helps.

  55. Hello Everyone! This past week my children had Spring Break. We had a ‘stay-cation’ of sorts. Everyday of the week, we went on a day trip. It was a wonderful, educational and a fun time! We previously budgeted for all these trips. We packed lunches, snacks and water bottles everyday. We also ate dinner out a few times, which we planned in our budget as well. The only additional expense was two extra meals out we didn’t plan; however, I am not losing sleep over this! My children are back to school this week and I am ready to get back into the swing of ‘normal’ life again!
    This list is from the past two weeks:
    -Free bag of chips at Chipotle
    -tons of great Woohoo deals at Kroger!
    -free Friday coupon download and free items
    -free BHG magazine in the mail
    -free samples in the mail
    -my parents gave us 3 full bags of tamales and some strawberries they weren’t going to eat before the fruit went bad
    -ate lunch at my parents house after church on Sunday-it was delicious and came home with lots of leftovers. We will eat these this week for lunches and our ‘Left-Overs’ dinner one night
    -got all of my garage sale merchandise priced and organized. I may have some extra things to add to my sale pile, but I’m caught up and mostly ready for our community garage sale
    -dropped off 3 donation bags at the thrift shop. I am not going to try to sell these things for various reasons
    -it’s warming up in my corner of NWOhio- our heat hasn’t ran much in the last two weeks, so I should see a significant drop in our electric bill
    -I continued with my usual: library for books and movies, recycled, turned off lights, hung clothes to dry, washed baggies, said ‘No’, stayed out of tempting stores, etc.
    Now off to read everyone’s accomplishments. Have a great week, everyone!

  56. • Was gone on a business trip for most of the week so didn’t go grocery shopping.
    • Frugal fail – left my nice Lands End winter coat in the trunk of rental car. I only realized it when I reached my home state airport. I telephoned the rental car company to report it so maybe it will be returned.
    • Used a Kohls $10 off $10 coupon and bought an item that I will use as a gift for zero OOP.
    • Went away for the weekend and made sure to fill my gas tank in MA and saved 40 cents per gallon versus CT.
    • Stopped in a grocery store in MA to use their restroom and paid 21% less for oranges, bought bananas on sale at 39 cents, and cranberry juice $2 less per bottle than I normally pay.

  57. I do have genius moments every once in a while…though few and far between!;) Just a note, if you don’t have somewhere to hang the bottle, I’m sure you could easily rig up a stand for the bottle to sit in. Glad the idea may be useful to someone else!

  58. Congrats on your acceptance to the program, KellyK! Nurse Practitioners are becoming more popular here in Canada. In fact, my daughter saw the Nurse Practitioner last week when we had her checked for secondary infections from her cold. The lady was amazing with my Autistic daughter, too. She explaining everything she was doing and asked permission to do it before touching her. I think my daughter really liked that! Good luck with your studies!!!

  59. I have never heard of the Days for Girls organization. That would be a great service project for our church, Thank You for sharing! We used the last of our cord wood. I refuse to pay the inflated prices. I picked up 2×4 scraps from a lumber yard. The owners told me I could take as much as I wanted. They just throw them out. We will have some chilly night usually till May 1st. Our propane is $3.09 here, winter price. So I will warm up my house for free~smile~
    My son cut his finger and it started to get infected. I soaked it in warm salt water several times a day and put Tea Tree oil on it. Saved me a trip to urgent care. I drew a line with a ball point pen to make to infection wasn’t spreading past the infected area. My granddaughter takes probiotics to keep from getting U.T.I.’s the specific strain is expensive. I found the name brand version FlorastorKids on Costco online. Terrific price and free shipping. It comes from France, so I grateful for the low price!
    Thanks again for sharing with us Brandy.

  60. Great job saving money this week!

    It’s my goal to finish sewing my dress this weekend. First I need to figure out how to put in the zipper, which I’m doing by watching free YouTube videos. Hopefully it’ll be a nice addition to my work wardrobe. The best part is that the dress is made from stretchy fabric I bought for $2 at the thrift store. 🙂

    We planted our raised beds and we’re starting to see lots of growth. Soon I should be able to harvest strawberries! Our radishes have shot up like crazy, so we’ll also have lots of radishes in our future.

  61. Chocolate chip cookies are the best! Plain, with oatmeal or peanut butter! Hum now I think I need to make me some.
    Sorry your daughter hasn’t been feeling the best. Hopefully she is on the mend.
    I have 2 cats and the older one will not drink out of a bowl. He drinks out of the tap. He will sit on the edge of the sink and wait for someone to turn it on. We tried one of the fountains and he didn’t use it but the other cat thought it was great fun to play in. How big of a bottle did you get?

  62. We are on the road — first stop was a family reunion of my husband’s side of the family. Four generations, ranging from his 90-year old uncle to a 13-month old fourth cousin. We saved money on the way here by staying at free campsites for the two nights it took us to get here (a free campground provided by the city of Dumas, Texas the first night and camping at a state rest area in Arkansas the second night.) We parked our camper and plugged in at a couson’s house. Everyone contributed food for the reunion and we took a little bit of it with us after the reunion. Now we are camping at a state park. We wanted to camp free in the National Forest, but flooding had washed out the road, so we have money in our budget for extras like this and will be fine. It was such a joy to see everyone at the reunion, and I met some of my husband’s relatives that I had never met before.

  63. Hello everyone!
    The weather here in Nebraska is dull. dreary and chilly! I am dog sitting for my dd & sil for a week. She left me gift cards for gas. She lives out past the school so the plan is to go after I drop the boy at school and spend a couple of hours out there and then come home. Then stop before school pick up and let them out and then spend the evening out there with them so they aren’t kenneled more than they normally are. I do plan on spending most of the weekend out there too. The forecast says rain for the next 5 out of 6 days so I could be mopping the floors alot. It probably isn’t frugal for me but they are saving boarding fees.
    I combined all my errands with school drop offs except shots for the cats. Petco does immunizations on Saturday afternoons so I took my 2 in and we were done in 15 minutes. This saved me a half hour drive round trip and no office visit charges for the vet. It was $38 total for rabies and the 5 year old cat doesn’t need a shot for 3 years.
    I have been able to turn the heat off during the day when I am the only one here saving money.
    I cooked all meals at home this week and rolled the leftovers into different meals. Leftover steak was used in broccoli beef and l/o mac and cheese was used with cooked chicken and veggies for a new casserole. I also added the rest of the l/o veggies to the potato soup I made last week..
    I only bought milk, bread and cauliflower this week at the store. The cauliflower was $1.99 a head and it has been running over $3. I bought 2 because I don’t care for it blanched and frozen. It will be a nice change from green veggies and corn.
    I cleaned out the master closet and the dresser and have 3 bags of clothes for the thrift shop. I still have the shelf in the closet to do and there are several Avon Christmas decorations we no longer use that will go too.
    Days for Girls sounds like an amazing organization. I will have to check it out. I am glad that you are able to participate.
    Have a great week everyone!

  64. Julia, your cake was quite pretty-and fancy! I’m like your daughter in that I love all things blue too:) I know that homemade buttercream icing tasted good. Well done!

  65. Such a coincidence…my blog post was late this week because I was waiting for the appearance of dandelion leaves in the market! Yes, here in Eastern PA, they are a delicacy and a Spring time treat. They are harvested young (before they get spiky) and are served with hot bacon dressing. I’ve included the history and a recipe:

    Days for Girls sounds amazing. When I was stationed in Iraq, the Iraqi housekeepers told us one of the reasons they wanted to work for US & Coalition Forces was to have access to our sanitary products which were sold at the PX. You needed a job to access the PX. We would let them use all the products that were sent from the States that we didn’t need. Such a good thing!

    I love your updated profile pic! Have a good week!

  66. Brandy, I am truly impressed with your garden and it’s productivity. I have moved a few times and had to start my gardens over. I had 4 kids and I never got near the gardens that you have. I can’t wait to start mine. I live in Ohio so I have to wait. We have 4 acres so I have a lot to maintain. I am starting over so I want to have time to have a nice one this year. Yours is beautiful. My friend gives me large bags of sawdust. It has helped the ground immensely. Keep up the good work. It is therapy for me. I love watching the plants grow.

  67. I am a new reader and have delighted in reading your recipes (lots of food for thought here). If I were making the chard soup, I would cook the potatoes first and at the last possible time for the shortest possible time I would add the chard (that would preserve the folate in it). I just love your recipes. I note your family does not like lentils which is a great pity; however, I have made a borscht soup with grated beets, a cabbage grated, potatoes, carrots, broth, and instead of using ground beef, I used a can of the little brown (I think they are called Puy) lentils. You could not tell they were there but they added protein and probably some folate.
    Cabbage goes a long way and is not too expensive. Beans, in addition to their other virtues, are a good source of folate. Also, I adore your espaliered fruit trees. I myself have long wanted to do this. Have you thought about eating your dandelion greens? If they haven’t been sprayed or if the lawn hasn’t been sprayed you could probably do so easily. It is also easy to grow rhubarb and it freezes well. (Leaves are poisonous, use stalks only). One thing that I love is buying a case of Italian prune plums. They can be washed, then split in half and pitted and put in freezer bags for the winter. My mother used to put them in the freezer in jars in a light sugar syrup but my aunt discovered you could just freeze them without sugar syrup. Then either thaw them and use them with a bit of sugar or – my favourite – heat them with a bit of sugar on top of the stove and then enjoy them on cold winter days. I am so happy at finding your site and blog.

  68. My daughter is still sounding pretty rough. It’s starting to break up in her chest and she has a very wet cough right now. Otherwise, she’s feeling much better.

    Our schools are nut free, so I can’t do peanut butter chocolate chip. Otherwise, I would make those. But then I would hoard them for just me, because that’s my favourite. So, maybe it’s better they are just chocolate chip.

    As for the water bottle, we bought it at the co-op store. It is “ferret sized”, but a rabbit size is a bit bigger and would work too. I chose a bottle with a wider opening, so we can put a bottle brush inside to clean it. Paid more, but it will be easier to clean in the long run. If you are unsure if your cat will use it and you have a smaller hamster or guinea pig size one around the house (or can borrow one), try that first before investing. However, the smaller ones won’t give them much water with one lick and would be too much work for your cat to get enough water. They will most likely give up quickly give up and go back to their favourite tap. hope this helps, Pat!

  69. Loyda, I checked on Pinterest and they have lots of recipes for London Broil on there. They all looked delicious too! Hope this helps.

  70. Your garden posts are my favorite. I always learn something. I agree with another commenter it is authentic because your work is seasonal.

  71. Thank you so much for all your work in writing this blog. I learn so much from you and the rest of the community here.

    Because of this blog, I’m encouraged to keep on doing the little things that add up to big savings. I’ve learned to manage my retirement income better then I would have without your ideas.

  72. I have a recipe I like for chickpea “chicken” salad
    1 (15oz can) chickpeas/ garbanzo beans rinsed & drained or 2 cups cooked
    2 celery stalks finely chopped
    3 green onions thinly sliced
    1/4 C red bell pepper finely chopped
    2 T pickles (whatever you like) finely chopped
    1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
    3 T mayo (can substitute plain yogurt or ranch dressing for 2 of the T)
    1-3 T fresh lemon juice to taste
    Any fresh herbs that sound good. I like dill or thyme.
    salt & pepper to taste
    In a large bowl mash chickpeas with a pastry blender or potato masher until it looks “flaked,” Stir in celery, onions, pickles, red peppers, garlic & mayo until blended. Add 1T lemon juice, salt & pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings. Serve on crackers, in soft wrap breads or pita breads or in lettuce cups. I sometimes add chopped carrots as well. I always double the recipe and my kids eat it for lunch for a couple days.

  73. does it leave an odor? I can’t be around ammonia as it shuts my breathing down so Hubby would do it but if it leaves an odor I can’t be around it…hum does that get me out of dealing with the trash?;)

  74. If you need fabric to make the drawstring, l still have leftover fabric from my daughter’s bed skirt and pillows. I’m not a sewer so I can’t make them and I don’t know anyone participating in this project. It’s a great project!

  75. My husband’s woodworking business produces a large amount of sawdust naturally. We do not use it in the gardens. It takes a lot of nitrogen to break it down so is taking the nitrogen from your plants to do that. Some of it we compost, some we use for pathways, but we never till it directly in. A good portion goes into the sawdust furnace that heats the building.

    If it is helping your garden, I am glad.

  76. I have a question for you and your readers. I live with my son and my daughter in law and three grandchildren. I am broke beyond broke because of my ex husband. I don’t let it bother me but it does cause issue every once in awhile.
    My Grandkids have 5 sets of grandparents due to divorces. I am the only one that is broke. I spend time with them and give them unique gifts. I gave my grandaughters (the twins ) their first dolls and at Christmas I hunted on craigslist and found them American girl dolls that are the same names as the girls. (Which my daughter in law loved)
    Anyway my problem is the neighbor across the street. She is nosy and pushy and she is always trying to out do me on gifts to my grandkids. Now it’s bad enough that All of the other grandparents make six figures and can way out do me now this lady comes along and she is trying to do all the little things only just a bit better and with a bit more money.
    She has grandchildren of her own and I really wish she would just butt out. I can never think of a gracious way to tell her she constantly hurts my feelings when she trys to take over my grandchildren.

  77. I don’t think you need to say anything, focus on the fact that your grandkids have yet another person in thier life doing nice things for them. How fortunate they are! I think kids are smart and the time you spend playing board games, reading, coloring etc with them (the free things) will mean far more than anything expensive and shiny.

  78. Jenna,
    Unfortunately, this women seems intent on making your life quite miserable. Hopefully you can take a few steps back and look at things from a different perspective. She does not get to decide what you do for/with your grandchildren and she does not get to be in charge of your feelings. DO NOT let her take your power away by constantly trying to compete with her … or by letting her rob you of the joy of being a grandmother. DO NOT let her hurt your feelings – having hurt feelings is a choice. Telling her (in a “gracious way” or just a simple, straightforward way) is not likely to stop her behavior and may, in fact, make it worse. Just continue to reach out to your grandchildren in the way that only you can – and remember that eventually they will grow up and IF they remember this woman and her behaviors, they will see her for who she really is. (You might also share your concerns with your son and/or daughter-in-law as they may be able to limit the contact this woman has with their children.)

  79. Jenna, you find yourself in a difficult situation. It is difficult to be the odd one out when everyone around you has the ability to buy gifts without thinking twice. Remember, however, that by living with your grandchildren, you are giving them the greatest gift of all – your time and presence. I believe that simply by being there with them and for them, your role is no less important than a parent’s. Try to find the good in the issue with your neighbor. Teach your grandchildren the gift of accepting gifts gracefully. Children grow up fast and will soon learn to judge who is their constant rock (you) and who is trying to buy their affection. Even children learn that there is more value in a person than in ‘things’. If you feel that the neighbor problem is really getting to you, perhaps talk to your daughter in law and have her ask the neighbor to pass on all gifts through her as they have so much already and she’d like to pace the items they receive. In peace x

  80. I think you should say something to your son about your feelings and the parents should be the one to say something to the neighbor if they feel it is out of line… on the other hand you can look at it as a blessing she cares about your grandkids , the more that show them caring and not focus on her one upmanship part, I would even thank her myself about caring some much about them.AND I wouldn’t be letting it know what I am giving as gifts. I am also the broke grandparent, broke great grandparent…. of 10 (great great grand to grand parents). We did gag gifts only able to give $10 for each. I used every day items I saved during the yr to make 10 gifts for each.The grandkids still to this day talk about it, try to think of what gag gift we will give each year…one of the other sets got them the next gaming station with several games (over $1500 worth)…not one mention of that gift was made. 😉

  81. Despite everything…time and attention from grandma trumps everything! My fondest memories are not the presents but the time. I cannot tell you the hours spent playing Rummy with my grandmother one-on-one. I often shield away from presents for the sake of giving presents (which I can very well afford) and instead offer opportunities. The theater with hot chocolate or a baseball game with an icecream cone is far superior to any present from a generous neighbor. Be glad your neighbor is there to offer gifts and spend time on tea parties and picnics

  82. Jenna,

    Your grandchildren know who their grandma is. The best things in life aren’t things, but intangibles like relationships. Even if the children don’t realize it now they will some day. Do not allow your feelings about what this woman does to rob you of your job and detract you from being the best grandmother you can be.

    I’m sorry she hurts your feelings, that is so hard. I would not confide in this woman or give her any information beyond just being cordial. It might even be wise to spend as little time with her as possible and learn a few phrases that you can repeat as needed. “Really?” “You don’t say!” “I can’t imagine.” “I’m not sure what I’m doing yet.” “I want it to be a surprise.” “I’m still considering my options.” “I don’t discuss family business.” “Why do you ask?” “I haven’t decided yet.”

  83. Thank you everyone for all of the great advice. I will use the responses ” I’m not sure what I’m doing yet , And I don’t discuss family business as those apply often when I get cornered by this individual.
    I also will keep things cordial but limit my time with her. Never again will she spoil something that I worked so hard on by getting one better of the exact same as I had. It was just way too hurtful.

    Everyone is always so very helpful here ! Thank YOU THANK YOU , THANK YOU ALL !!!!

  84. This is all so funny to me. My dog has lots of fresh water at her disposal outdoors. where does she prefer to drink? From the puddle under the edge of the carport..and she seems to prefer it most when we’ve just driven the car through it and stirred up the mud!

  85. Another answer is if you are pressed, “Can you keep a secret?” (allow her to answer) and then say “So can I!” and redirect the conversation. If you do this calmly it can be confusing to the other person because it changes a familiar dynamic. Some people will never understand that their behavior is hurtful. And that is okay. It may be too much to expect of them. They don’t have to understand, but their behavior (the way the treat you) does need to change and that is something you may be able to do something about.

    I won’t go into how I know these things, just to say it was a very hard lesson to learn. I am glad if this information can help empower someone else in their particular life circumstances. It is a like any other skill, it gets easier the more you do it. Best of luck!

  86. Jenna-Speaking as the grand child in a situation like this: My fraternal grandmother was dirt poor. Her neighbor wasn’t and would often gift us at Christmas because “Sister G” couldn’t. I remember none of those gifts. But I still make green beans the way Big Granny taught me. I still remember the tin pitcher in the icebox full of cold water and drinking from the tin cup (the only one of the grandkids who had her OWN tin cup) as she would sit and cut out paper dolls with me made from newspaper and we would color on them. I still remember her laughter and sitting on her lap learning to read. Those are the important things. The time she spent with me.

  87. I am sorry about your dog. I have lost several dogs. It felt like part of me was lost too. I have a black lab now who is such a joy and a sweet creature. I will say a few prayers for you. I know if it so hard.:(

  88. K I have been using garlic pills to lower my blood pressure. It isn’t expensive and has helped a lot. HTH Sarah

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