Home From Vacation – Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Last week, we went on vacation.  Vacations and frugal don’t often go together, but when you are staying with family its a whole lot easier.  We stayed with my in laws, and all of our day trips were things in their neck of the woods.  We visited Stokes and High Point with the older children, while my mother in law has some quality time with our youngest.  Steve & I even got a date afternoon out.  All in all, it was a perfectly relaxing 5 days away.

In addition to saving while we were on vacation, here are last week’s other frugal accomplishments:

last week's frugal accomplishments

Specca Farms is now open for strawberry picking! While $2.50/lb is more expensive than what you’d spend at some stores, I think it was well worth it for these oh so tasty berries.  Plus, it was a great way to spend a morning our with my children and some friends.

In our garden, we have been harvesting green onions, radishes, and lettuce.  We have even gotten a few strawberries!  We had more veggies ready for harvest than we could possibly eat at once, so I chose to sell our abundance to friends & neighbors.  That money has been put back into our garden with the purchase of several new blueberry bushes.

fiestaware

I bought replacement serving bowls at Holley Ross Pottery.  The bowls are 50% off of retail, and I was replacing ones I had broken while pregnant (I am a klutz when pregnant).  If you like Fiestaware, and are ever in the Poconos area, you really need to check them out.  Holley Ross carries all of the standard Fiesta pieces at huge discounts.  Most items are seconds, and have very small glaze flaws or the logo stamp is off center.  Nothing that effects the use of the item, just its appearance.  A large majority of our dishes have come from Holley Ross.

We ate dinner at home every night!  I picked up burgers and hot dogs, and on the nights that I didn’t feel like cooking real food, we had burgers & dogs on the grill.  It is a perfect go to meal this time of year.

On the cool days we had the house opened up.  Not using the air conditioner will save us a lot of money in the long run.  We do have separate window units in the second floor bedrooms and they get turned on for the children on the evenings where it is just too unbearable upstairs.  Using the AC units intermittently keeps us all comfortable, but doesn’t break the bank.

I watched several shows on Hulu

The children watched shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime

Received the auto-shipment of my daughter’s vitamins from Amazon (saving $2/container)

Used ECB and coupons to get 4 packs of diapers, a gallon of milk, and a bottle of soda for under $7, and then received $10 in ECB to use on my next trip.

Ordered a free Square reader (referral link) so I can take credit cards when I’m selling my excess produce in the future.

My mother in law gave me all of her unwanted gardening supplies, including plants, pots, soil, and starter greenhouses.

I helped my mother get ready to move.  We listed several items on online yard sale sites.  She gave me some garden tools that were my fathers, as well as all of the BBQ tools since she no longer has a grill.

I found my son’s yoga DVD from school that I swore we had lost and were going to have to pay to replace.  Now we won’t have that fine at the end of the school year.

Completed my internet reimbursement form with Commonwealth Connections Academy.  I’ll receive a Visa gift card at the end of June.

 

Sweet & Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken

Sweet & Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken

 

Bacon makes everything better, and that is definitely the case with this delicious Sweet & Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken.

Sweet & Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken
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Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 chicken breasts cut in thirds (12 pieces)
  2. Bacon slices
  3. salt and pepper to taste
  4. garlic powder
  5. chili powder
  6. brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Cut each breast into 3 pieces.
  2. Season the chicken with the spices. Then, wrap a piece of bacon around each piece of chicken.
  3. Roll in brown sugar and place into a lightly greased baking sheet, or use no-stick foil (that stuff is awesome).
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and bacon is nice and brown and crispy.
Raising a Family on a Budget http://www.raisingafamilyonabudget.com/

Setting Up Your Square Foot Gardening Beds

square foot & container gardening

The whole idea behind Square Foot Gardening (SFG) is to grow more in less space.  This saves you time, money, and resources while producing an abundance of produce!

The traditional SFG bed is a 4’x4′ square, but you can apply this technique to any raised garden beds.  I have beds of various sizes – 3’x8, 2’x8′, 3’x6, 3’x12′ – it just depends on where they are in my yard.  

When planning your beds, take the length of your reach into consideration.  Most people can easily reach in 2′, so a garden should have a maximum width of 4′ if you can walk around to both sides so that you can reach in to tend the garden beds, plant, and harvest with ease. [Read more…]

This Week’s Menu Plan

Menu Plan MondayI am so glad that summer is almost here because that means fewer evening activities and it will be easier to keep to our routines, especially meal planning!  Dinners will once again be at the same time each night.  Just 2 weeks left to go!

I am keeping things simple again this week, mainly because I have been so physically exhausted lately (all of this gardening is hard work, that I’m not exactly used to).

Breakfasts:  cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, banana bread

Lunches: pb&j, grilled cheese

Dinners:

  • Tuesday – BBQ chicken salads
  • Wednesday – take out (Girl Scout night)
  • Thursday – Tacos, Rice, Beans
  • Friday – Leftovers
  • Saturday – Chicken Souvlaki, grilled pita, hummus
  • Sunday – Whole Roasted Chicken, Potatoes, Veg

What are you eating this week?

For more meal time inspiration, check out Menu Plan Monday.

What is a Food Swap?

What Is A Food Swap

Most of us have heard of cookie swaps around Christmas, where everyone bakes a different type of cookie and then swaps with the other guests to bring home a wide variety.  Now apply this concept to all homemade & homegrown foods, and you have the general idea for a Food Swap!

A food swap is an event where people come together to share homegrown, homemade, homebrewed or foraged foods with each other.  Swaps allow direct trades between members, and what you bring with you is your currency during the event.  For example, a loaf of homemade bread for a jar of homemade pickles or a quart of tomatoes fresh from someone’s garden.  These events are perfect for anyone who likes to eat and share good food!   [Read more…]

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

The last two weeks have been absolutely exhausting.  I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to think, let alone write.  Here’s to getting back on track.

Last (2) week’s frugal accomplishments:

Used fans instead of turning on the AC … yesterday got way to warm in the house though, so we ended up putting the AC on last night so we could sleep comfortably.

bowling

Went to Playdrome Cherry Hill so the kids could bowl 2 FREE games.  I love this promotion!

Bought a new shed and swing set, both planned purchases, using a 10% off coupon

Used a $10 off/$10 purchase coupon at Staples to get SodaStream syrups for under $2 OOP

Used a $10 off/$10 purchase coupon at JCP to replace our steak knives (and go from 4 to 8 knives) for only $4 OOP

mondo yard sale

Sold a lot of clothes during the local yard sale

Used a Groupon to the Entenmann’s Outlet to buy muffins to have on hand as snacks 

Used a Living Social Voucher to get a 1yr membership & a $25 gift card to BJs.  I then used that gift card to purchase the groceries for my daughter’s birthday party.

Hung laundry to dry

radishesHarvested our first veggies from the garden – radishes & lettuce

Purchased two hydrangeas for our garden.  After shopping around (online and several local nurseries) I found the best price at Fairless Hills Garden Center and was able to get two plants for less than 1 at other nurseries.

Dug and transplanted more raspberry canes from their previous location. 

Traded some Espoma Rose Tone for fresh lettuce & radishes

Sold my extra canna bulbs to a friend to replenish my “garden fund”

Got my glasses fixed instead of paying for a replacement pair

Returned items to Toys R Us and Advanced Auto that we bought in error.

Purchased a Restaurant.com certificate to Holiday Ice Cream – less than $2 OOP for a $10 certificate

 

 

 

 

Benefits of Square Foot & Container Gardening

square foot & container gardening

Last week, I had the privilege of leading a Square Foot & Container Gardening workshop with the members of the Greater Philadelphia Gardening & Homesteading.  We spent a beautiful spring evening outside, talking about plants, and how to grow them given our poor soil conditions.  The two main topics to overcome poor soil were Square Foot Gardening (SFG) and container gardening.  Over the next few days, I will be sharing a series of posts with you about these topics, covering much of the information that was discussed in the workshop. [Read more…]

May Menu Plan

MayMenuPlanMay is a very busy time in our family.  We have several birthdays, our wedding anniversary, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day.  Add in the normal scout meetings, late nights at work for my husband, and a long weekend away at my in-laws, and I need a plan to get through this month.

With the weather warming up, I plan on using our grill a lot more often.  I don’t like using the oven in the late spring/summer because it throws too much heat into our home.  Besides, grilled foods just taste better!

A month of dinners:

  • BBQ Chicken, Grilled Potatoes, Grilled Veggies
  • Pepper Steak with Rice
  • Meatloaf, French Fries, Corn
  • Grilled Hot Dogs, Chips, Veggies & Ranch
  • Bacon Cheeseburgers, Chips, Fruit Salad
  • Turkey Burgers, Pasta Salad, Veggies & Dip
  • Grilled Burgers & Hot Dogs, Pasta Salad, Baked Beans, Chips
  • Spaghetti, Meatballs, Sausage, Garlic Bread, Caesar Salad
  • Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts, Mashed Potatoes, Salad
  • Bacon Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Corn
  • Bacon Wrapped Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Salad
  • Polynesian Chicken Kabobs with Pineapple, Onions, & Bell Peppers, Coconut Rice
  • Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Couscous
  • Smoked Pork Shoulder, Rolls, Cole Slaw, Grilled Potatoes
  • BBQ Pulled Chicken, Rolls, Cole Slaw, French Fries
  • Pancakes, Bacon, Fruit Salad
  • Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Biscuits

We are sticking with our regular routine for breakfasts & lunches:

  • muffins, fruit & yogurt smoothies, oatmeal packets, banana bread, bagels
  • peanut butter & jelly, grilled cheese, muffin tins, leftovers, salads

What’s on your meal plan this month?

Just Between Friends Hatfield/Quakertown OPENS TODAY!

jbf

Just Between Friends Hatfield/Quakertown opens today for 3-days only!

BucksMont Indoor Sports Center
2278 North Penn Road – Hatfield, PA 19440

Friday, May 1st 9:30a-6:30p
Saturday, May 2nd 9a-3:30p
Sunday, May 3rd 9:30a-1:30p (most items 50% off)

JBF accepts Cash, MasterCard, Visa and Discover. There is an ATM on site.

Why should you SHOP the JBF Hatfield/Quakertown sale?

With 300+ consignors there is a wide variety of clothing, gear, and toys for children of all ages
More than 70,000 high quality items all in one location
Save 50-90% over retail prices!