One Grocery Store’s Solution to Food Waste

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

A big thanks to my friend Heather who shared this video and article about a grocery store in France on a mission to reduce food waste with me.

Intermarche, a large grocery store chain in France, is taking food waste into their own hands.  Instead of only buying the “perfect” looking fruits and veggies {which as any gardener knows, leaves a lot of “imperfect” waste}, they are buying up the stuff the farmers would have thrown out.  They mark it down, give it its own showcase in the store, and then watch as people buy it up.  They also create in-house juices and soups with it, which apparently fly off the shelves.  Genius, I tell ya.

mutant carrots

I wish they would do something like that here in America {Maybe they do?  Does anyone know of a grocery store that sells the ugly fruits and veggies?}  In America, the average family wastes about 25% of the food they throw out.  That roughly equates to $1500 dollars a year just getting tossed into the trash.

food-waste-in-America-Saveitsunday

Click HERE and check out my food waste experiment.  Trust me, if you haven’t read about it, your mind will be blown.

Food waste is one of those things that just kills me–especially quality, nutrient packed food.  I go to some pretty serious lengths to make sure food doesn’t go to waste around here.  For one, I organize my fridge so that things don’t get lost in the abyss.  Fruits and vegetables that are about to go bad get pureed and frozen for smoothies, soups, etc.  And while I am terrible at meal planning, it DOES cut down on waste.  Plain and simple.  {Check out my tips on reducing food waste for more ideas.}

Preventing Food Waste - Freeze Extra Juice and Make Smoothies

I thought this was another genius solution to a HUGE global problem.  I would totally buy the misshapen fruits and vegetables–especially at a discount.  How about YOU?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Getting Stung by Bees, Doggie Treats, Geese, and That 17 Pound Restoration Hardware Catalog

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

getting stung by bees

My neighbor Hulda came down yesterday to pick raspberries and ended up getting stung. Not once, but twice. Eeek! The Girl got stung picking raspberries later in the day as well. :( Do bees make hives in raspberry patches? I’m allergic to bees so I think I’ll have the HH investigate this weekend for us.

I sure hope there isn’t a hive in there… I need more berries!

feeding canada geese

An early morning walk on the beach. The Canada geese around here are way to relaxed if you ask me. restoration hardware catalogs 2014

Did you receive a 17 pound stack of Restoration Hardware catalogs last month? Oh my word! I’ve never even ordered from Restoration Hardware before so I have no idea why they sent catalogs to me.  Do they really think I’m interested in a $5,000 sofa?

Maybe if they didn’t send out 17 pound catalogs they could lower there prices a wee bit.

mud bay dog store

Doggie treats. Lucy is in L.O.V.E. with Paragon Whimzees Dental Chews. She carries her little chewy around with her throughout the house, half playing with it and half gnawing on it. It takes her about a week to go through one of them and it’s pretty much the cutest thing ever to watch.

needle punch thread

The kids and I were at the thrift store the other day and a bag full of Needle Punch thread was calling my name. 30 spools for $3.99. Just one goes for about $2.50 at the shops so I think I made out pretty good.

Of course I have never needled punched anything in my life before… but it’s on my craft to do list. ;)

zaycon foods dishtowel

Hey! I checked my P.O. Box for the first time in 3 months and found some kinds notes, scrapbooking cutouts, a free dish towel from Zaycon Foods, and a Mama Kangaroo from Australia. Pretty neat if you ask me. Thank you friends from the internet, its always nice to get stuff in the mail.

Unless of course you’re that guy from Kentucky who wrote me that long love letter. That was awkward.

oak leaf lettuce pictures

Oak Leaf Lettuce. Ain’t it purdy? Think how much money brides could save if they walked down the aisle carrying bouquets of fresh vegetables instead of flowers.  If I could do it over again I’d totally do this.

But then again, I’m a little odd.

Have a great weekend everyone,

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Working Outside the Home Vs. Staying at Home – Which is More Stressful?

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Working Outside the Home Vs. Staying at Home

I know that working outside the home versus staying at home is an age-old debate.  There are always two camps, each firm in their beliefs.  In light of an article I just read, I wanted get your opinion from a different perspective on the subject.

The article stated that a recent study found that mothers that worked full time {as opposed to part time or not at all} were actually healthier, both mentally and physically, than those who didn’t.  The study tested participants’ {men and women} saliva throughout the day, looking for elevated cortisol levels {the stress hormone}, and found that they were higher during home life than work life.  The article suggested that perhaps the lower stress at work comes from a defined set of expectations and the idea that you could always quit if things got too bad {whereas quitting family life is usually not an option}.

I’m not really interested in starting a debate over which choice is “right,” I really just wanted to hear what YOU thought about the idea that work is a bit of escape from the stresses of family life.  For those of you that work full time, do you find it is a stress reliever?  Do you find you are less stressed when you get home after working versus the days where you are at home all day long with the kiddos and hubby?  I can totally see how having something of “your own” would lead to a more fulfilled human being, but I also have always wondered how working moms manage to get everything done without pulling their hair out.

So, what do you think?  Is work a stress-reliever?  I would love your honest opinions!

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Lancaster Central Market – Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Lancaster Central Market

I almost forgot to tell you about our trip to the Lancaster Central Market.

Oh my word it was cool!

Lancaster Central Market produce stands

After an amazing homemade breakfast at our friend Zoë’s house, The Girl and I headed off to the Lancaster Central Market in Pennsylvania  for some lunch supplies for our drive to JJ’s house in Virginia last month.

Lancaster Central Market  bakery

The Lancaster Central Market is basically the hub of Lancaster.  In fact it’s the oldest ongoing farmer’s market in the country.  It. Is. Huge.  If you can’t find something to eat there, seriously, you aren’t hungry.

You can piece together a meal out of fresh produce, baked goods, cheese and deli meats, or you can sample a pretty wide array of international foods {German, Greek, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Slavic, etc}.

Lancaster Central Market flowers

The market began in the 1730′s.  It was chartered by King George II in 1742–making the the country’s Royal Market town {a title the residents took quite a bit of pride in}.  The market buildings were put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

Lancaster Central Market Milk

Each week, about 3000 people visit the market.  Most of them are locals stocking up on their weekly food stuffs {which makes the market waaaay less of a tourist trap and a bit more charming}.

Lancaster Central Market Produce

We gave it 4 thumbs up. Go there. It’s awesome.

How about you, what is the best market you’ve ever stepped foot in?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Clever Way to Keep Bugs Out of Your Drinks

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Clever Way to Keep Bugs Out of Your Drinks

Summer time BBQ’s are awesome.  Bugs floating in your lemonade or vitamin water are not.  Luckily, with some mason jars, cupcake liners, and straws, you can totally keep the bugs out–all while amazing friends and neighbors–like a party throwing magician.

Clever Way to Keep Bugs Out of Your Drinks

You’ll Need:

Cupcake liners
Paper Straws {or regular, but I like the paper ones}
Mason jar {I used pint sized}
Bands for the jar

Keep Bugs Out of Your Drinks

Directions:

Brace yourself, these are complicated ;) .  Starting with a mason jar, flip a cupcake liner upside down and place it over the mouth of the jar, screw the band carefully over the jar, holding the liner in place as you do.  Using a pen, or some other pointy object, poke a hole for the straw and then slide the straw into place.  I know, it’s rocket science.   You may have to read the directions more than once.

Now, go get your outdoor party on.

~Mavis

Clever Way to Keep Bugs Out of Your Drinks

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How Much Is Your Time Worth?

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

mavis butterfield one hundred dollars a month

Even though I have five years of blogging under my belt, there is one type of comment I get from time to time that I still have no idea how to answer:

I really enjoy your site– you have a lot of great tips to share. One thing I’ve thought about though: how much is your time worth? Of course we all have finite life spans so everything we do is a tradeoff– a portion of our precious life in exchange for something. But on the less philosophical side, how many hours do you spend in gardening, canning, freezing, coupon clipping, etc. , as well as how much money spent on gas/electricity to run a larger freezer, heat canning stuff, etc?

If you subtract the extra money you spend on energy from what you save per month, then divide the result by how many hours you spend in money-saving activities how much per hour you are earning/saving?

Which is more beneficial in terms of dollars per hour– working extra hours at a job or working those hours at home and in your garden to save money? (Not that everything comes down to money— sometimes the satisfaction that comes with accomplishing or creating something is more of a reward than money).

~Beth

canning beets

When I get a comment like that, it is really one of the most difficult for me to answer. Because the answer is complex and personal and unique to just me. Let’s face it, I march to the beat of my own drum. Who else do you know crazy enough to grow 2,000lbs of food in their backyard and try to live on $100 a month and actually find a TON of joy in that. I know that sentiment is not shared by many.

It’s possible I have a few screws loose! So for that reason, I want to scream from the rooftop every time someone asks me a similar question {and it’s more often than you’d imagine}: it’s TOTALLY worth it to me.

My gut instinct is to say I’d spend twice as much time doing just what I do because I love it. I love this lifestyle and I love gardening and I love feeling the dirt between my fingers and knowing I’m doing right by my family.

I SERIOUSLY ENJOY IT. And you really can’t put a price tag on that.

Don’t get me wrong, I do get where people are coming from. I had a friend once who bought a fixer-upper house with her husband a few years back. They decided to do all the work themselves to save money on the renovations. They put so much sweat, tears and hours into that house that when they were done, both would tell you that is wasn’t worth it at all and if they had to do it again, they’d hire almost all of it out. The reason? They didn’t love what they were doing. At all. I do!

A great example of the opposite of that would be my friend Jennifer’s cousin Zoë. She cooks from scratch, cans her extra garden produce, makes oodles of handmade quilts for her home and her shop on Etsy, She’s amazing. And I bet if we were to add up the hours she spends doing those “chores,” it might seem like a waste of time on paper.

But it’s not to her. And it certainly isn’t to me. I know that might seem crazy to some, but if you’re doing something that gives you joy, it becomes less about how much it’s saving you. The fact that I do save a ton of money doing what I do is a big fat bonus. The icing on the cake really.

primitive hooked star rug

We all do all things because we like to do them, not because it’s necessarily cheaper, faster or easier. But because our time is worth something to us. The time, heart and energy I put into something is worth more than the money I can swap out of my bank account for something cheaper off the shelf at Walmart.

Pretty much these days about 75% of what I do is accomplishing or creating something that means more to me than money. Sometimes price tags just don’t matter!

Life is short.

Be happy.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Organization Tip – Storing Hair Elastics

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Organization Tip - Storing Hair Elastics

I don’t know about you, but if I let it get out of control, I can find hair elastics in every drawer, table, bag, etc. in my house.  Even when I try to throw them into a container in the drawer, I swear, they grow legs and walk all over the house.  Well, no more, my friends.  No more.  I am taking a stand.

To keep your hair elastics in one easy to reach place, try buying a carabiner and feeding the elastics onto it.

How easy and tidy is that?  I got one for me and The Girl {it’s perfect for The Girl in her dorm where organization will be key to keeping track of everything in such a small space}.  Organization rules.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Should I Remove the Rings From My Canning Jars?

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Should I Remove the Rings From My Canning Jars

Now that canning is in full swing, I thought I would address whether or not you should remove the rings from canning jars after the jars have been processed.  I know that a lot of people don’t remove them–and they have been totally fine after years and years of canning.  BUT, the short answer to the question is still yes, you really should remove the rings.

The rings are really only designed to keep the lid on during the processing and cooling part of canning.  After that, they only provide a false sense of food safety, by giving the illusion of a good seal.  Once jars are cooled, take the rings off and store the jars {don’t stack them–that can also affect the seal}.   When a canned good does not have a good seal, eventually the lid will start to lift off of the jar.  When the band is on, it can prevent the lifting–making you think the food is still sealed.

canning{photo credit MamasMinutia}

In addition to giving the illusion of a good seal, the rings can rust.  Rust leads to a nightmare of a time getting the rings off when it is actually time to eat whatever is in the jar.  It also really shortens the life of the rings, and why spend money replacing something if you don’t have to?

I know the jars won’t look as pretty on the shelf without the traditional canning ring band, but seriously, in the end, it is a safety issue for you and your family.  And, the good news is that in the end, it will save you time and money.  No more trying to pry off stuck on rings–and no more purchasing excess rings, just new lids.

Happy canning,

~Mavis

Hot-Water-Bath-Canning-Tutorial

Need help getting started on the canning process?  Go HERE to find out how to can with a water bath or go HERE to find out how to can with a pressure canner.

Know how to can but need some new recipes?  Check out my canning recipes HERE.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Is It Time to Put “Play” Back Into our Kids’ Lives?

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

fort building

I found an article on treehugger the other day that totally stuck with me, and I wanted YOU to weigh in.

Basically, it argued that kids don’t have enough unscheduled, unstructured playtime.  We {we, being the parents} over-schedule them with music lessons, dance lessons, sports, language, tutoring, etc.  We hope the opportunities will expose them to all the world has to offer, but in exchange, they are losing their creativity skills–creativity skills that are built when all rules are off and sheer ingenuity can take hold.

hanging upside down

It does seem like the “lazy days of summer” are a thing of the past.  Most of the kids I know are busy with summer camps, swim teams, art lessons–you name it.  And I’ll be the first to admit, it’s probably got a little something to do with the parents needing to find ways to occupy their time so that they can get some work done {after all, adults are stretched just as thin as kids, I think sometimes}.  But part of me thinks in an effort to produce amazingly well-rounded kids, we are somehow stifling their development.

My dad used to say boredom was “good for you,” which at the time, was impossibly annoying, but he might have been onto something {don’t tell him that}. :)  Boredom eventually breeds creativity as a solution {though, it sometimes breeds trouble-making too}.  I used to love it when my kids got bored enough that they would come up with a game together–they’d build a fort, “play hotel”, or whatever.

mud piesI loved watching their imaginative play, and I was always super careful not to get involved and stifle what they had going.  Looking back, I cherish the days we had no where to be and nothing to do.  It’s when their personalities really shined.

The article cited a study done on rats and monkeys who were denied basic play.  When they were then introduced to mildly stressful situations, they weren’t willing to explore their environment.  When they were introduced to other animals, they displayed aggression and panic.  The lack of play somehow affected their ability to appropriately interact with the world.  I know this is extreme, but the point is, animals {including our wild little kiddos} really need a chance to “play” in order to make sense of the world.

What do YOU think, are we over-scheduling/over-structuring our kids?  Do we need to make more time for play?

~Mavis

Photos courtesy of Mama’s Minutia

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Keep Raccoons and Other Critters Out of Your Garbage

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

How to Keep Raccoons and Other Critters Out of Your Garbage

There is nothing worse than going to pull the garbage cans out front on garbage day, only to find that they have been ransacked by critters–critters with an obvious lack of basic table etiquette.  Picking up remnants of garbage is not really my favorite past time–because of the rain, it’s usually a soggy gross mess.

I’ve decided to show the raccoon who’s boss, though.  If you care to band with me against critters eating garbage everywhere, here’s what you do:

  1.  Before you toss the garbage bag into the garbage, spray it with Windex, or ammonia.  It deters the little guys big time.
  2. If you’re not wild about spraying the garbage itself, you’ll have to “fortify the compound.”  Which is really just a nerdy way of saying tie the lid down.  You can chain it with a padlock, though, dialing the combination in every time might get a bit tedious.  You can tie it down using rope or cord.  You can even try putting a cinder block on it, in hopes that your particular raccoon isn’t into weight lifting.
  3. You can also buy raccoon repellent around the can.  I am not wild about this option, because of Lucy, so if you have pets, you may want to consider using hot pepper or cayenne pepper flakes instead.
  4. Keep the garbage can in the garage.  Shut down the restaurant, and they will find themselves a new dining establishment.
  5. Install motion detection lighting around the trash can.  The light popping on will most likely scare them off.

How about you, have you successfully waged war on garbage eating raccoons?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Recipes Garden Frugal Canning Chickens Travel