Hulda… The Greatest Neighbor Ever

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packing boxes

Yesterday my old neighbor Hulda came over and helped me unpack for 4 hours. Not only did she help me carry heavy boxes and haul in furniture, but she also brought me a plate of homemade {from scratch} pumpkin muffins.

I always knew she was AWESOME… but yesterday she turned what was going to be my most crankiest day ever into something much more enjoyable.

She didn’t even gag when she found the box of milk and condiments the HH had packed up in a hurry and forget to stick in the mini fridge last Saturday while we were shacking up at the Best Western.

Do you know what milk SMELLS LIKE after 3 days in a warm garage. Let me tell you, it ain’t Mmm Mmm Good. ;)

how to pack glass

Oh, and when she found the HH’s expertly packed SUITCASE FULL OF GLASS… she didn’t even bat an eye. Instead she was like “Oh, well that’s different.”

Bahhh haha.

Hulda, you are one cool bean.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

~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.



Do We Really Really Want Our Chickens Swimming in Chlorine?

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Do We Really Really Want Our Chickens Swimming in Chlorine

Apparently in Europe our food standards have become a bit of a joke.  The European Union is scheduled to negotiate new trade standards with the U.S. according to an article I read.  And, wouldn’t you know it, their big hang-up with an open trade agreement is our food processing standards.  Shocking, right? ;)

More specifically chicken.  Here in the U.S., we give our chickens a quick dip in a chlorine bath to kill things like salmonella.  The use of chlorine in most of Europe was banned in the 1990′s–out of the fear that it caused cancer.  Europeans are worried that if they have an open trade agreement with us, they will be exposed to our less than desirable food processing methods {hormone-treated beef and GMO grown crops will also be the subject of debate}.

grey chicken

When the E.U. decided to move away from treating the already processed chicken with chlorine, they moved to testing the live animals.  They have gotten their rates of salmonella down to 2% with this method {though, of course, it makes the chicken more expensive}.  On that note, U.S. officials state that chlorine poses no threat to our health, and the E.U. just doesn’t want U.S. competition with cheaper chicken.  Ah, where’s a girl’s opinion to land–who knew chicken could be so political?

I’m going to go on record and say that I salute Europe’s strict food standards.  I don’t think they would outlaw the use of chlorine without cause. This kinda makes me want to buy fresh chickens only.  Yuck!

I think we could totally learn a thing or two from their elevated concern with public health and safety.  I know our food costs would go up–we would have to reprioritize a bit for sure.  What do YOU think, do you care how our chicken is processed?  Or do you think this is a no-biggie sort of deal?

~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.

DIY Jewelry Cleaner

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DIY Jewelry Cleaner

Okay, so little known fact about Mavis:  I own one piece of jewelry.  One.  My wedding band.  Still, I like to keep it shiny, without having to pay for expensive jewelry cleaner.  Of course, as with basically everything in life, there is always a way to make your own for a fraction of the store-bought price.

DIY Jewelry Cleaner

You’ll Need

One cup hot water
1-2 Tbsp. baking soda

Directions

Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and let your rings/jewelry sit in the mixture for a few minutes.  If you have a diamond or jewels on the ring, you can gently scrub them with a SOFT toothbrush.  Rinse and wear.

How’s that for a quick and easy way to bring the bling back to your ring?

~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.

And So it Begins…

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moving garage

Last night around 5pm we finally got the keys to our new place. Or should I say key? The owners were super considerate and left ONE count ‘em ONE key and ONE garage door opener for us. Oh, a one and a half rolls of toilet paper.

We were also greeted by a couple of giant holes on the wall as soon as we walked in the front door from some expander screws they decided to rip out of the wall yet decided not to repair.

Nothing says welcome home like a couple of good ole’ holes.

Did I mention I have exactly ONE day to unpack? Yep. Chino the Handyman and his crew start remodeling our house tomorrow and I’ll need to clear at least one of the three garage spaces for the dump truck they’ll be parking in the garage during the demo. Luckily my buddy Hulda from the old neighborhood will be coming by this morning for a few hours to help me unpack. With Monkey Boy off to school, the HH off to work and Lucy the puggle dog off to doggy daycare, I’m hoping to get as much as humanly possible accomplished today.

Because basically if it doesn’t get done today… It won’t get done until this weekend {because of the work crew}.

And, well, I don’t know about you, but a pair of clean clothes and a mattress to sleep on tonight would kind be cool.

Wish me luck!

~Mavis

lucy the puggle dog

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.

The Difference Between a Light and a Hard Freeze

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The Difference Between a Light and a Hard Freeze

My buddy, Heather, from Massachusetts mentioned the other day that it was getting cold in her neck of the woods.  Her tomatoes are still mass producing, so she will be putting up her hoop house up at night time starting this week.

how to make a hoop house

Hoop houses are the perfect protection for a light freeze–especially for delicate plants that really like the warm weather, like tomatoes.  And, in case you’ve ever wondered what the difference between a light freeze and a hard freeze is, I thought I would kind of break it down, because I am cool like that.

light frost on lambs ear

A light freeze is sometimes referred to as a frost.  A frost happens when temperatures dip down and their is moisture in the air.  Frosts can definitely damage sensitive leaves, but, unlike a freeze, temperatures do not need to get below 32 degrees {frosts can happen in temperatures as high as 40 degrees, if there is enough moisture in the air}.

A light freeze or frost can also occur when temperatures dip down below 32 degrees, but do not say there for days and days on end.  Daytime temperatures continue to be mild/warm.  Lots of plants can survive a light frost/freeze, so long as you cover them and prevent moisture from building up on their leaves while the temperatures are cold.

fava bean plants frost winter

A hard freeze is a different ball game.  It is the beginning of the end for standard gardening.  A hard freeze is when temperatures dip below 28-30 degrees and stays there for several days.  The daytime temperatures also typically do not rise high enough to make up for the night time dip.  A hard freeze is a death sentence for warm weather plants.  If there is a hard freeze warning, it’s best to harvest what you can from your plants–even a hoop house won’t protect them for long on a hard frost.

So, when the weather man predicts a light frost/freeze, make sure to run out and cover your plants.  When a hard freeze is predicted, harvest what you can.  If you’re not sure when the average frost/freeze happens in your area, I totally recommend getting a Farmer’s Almanac.  It will not only give you average dates, but tell you HOW to predict a frost/freeze.  It’s a  pretty handy little reference.

farmers almanac

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Doing Arts and Crafts in a Best Western Bathroom and Other RAD Stuff I Did This Weekend

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mavis butterfield

In addition to packing up our entire house and eating more take out food in the last 48 hours than I have all year, I also got my Martha on and did some arts and crafts in a Best Western Hotel this weekend.

Normally on Monday mornings I post pictures of the groceries I purchased during the past week… but since I didn’t come home until late last Wednesday, and we started packing on TThursday I didn’t end up buying any groceries. Because silly me, I assumed when Patrick O’Malley the Irish realtor said we’d be signing on Thursday, closing on Friday, getting the keys and moving in Friday evening that that’s what would happen.

But it didn’t.

Not even close.

Ahhhh. Are you sitting down?

lucy the puggle dog

So. Here we go.

Friday afternoon we get the call from Patrick saying the paperwork from the people buying our house wasn’t going to get to the office in time for them to sign until after the county closed for the weekend. Which of course created a domino effect. If the people who wanted to buy our house couldn’t close by end of day Friday, we couldn’t close on the house we were buying.

Which left them {and us} in a tight spot.

According to Patrick they had scheduled a moving truck for Saturday and a bunch of their friends took the day off to help them move their stuff. With 3 kids in tow. When they found out they wouldn’t be able to close on our house in time, Patrick said they were devastated and they booked the last hotel room in town and were prepared to stay there until the county offices opened on Monday.

movingSo we told Patrick that if the people we were buying the house from would let us store all our stuff in their garage for the weekend {they had already told him early occupancy was a big fat NO} and if the people buying our house wanted to get us their {paid} hotel room for the weekend, we would be happy to let them move into our house a few days early {before actually getting paid for it}.

1. Our stuff was already packed.

2. We can sympathize with the whole moving with kids process.

3. 2 nights in a hotel with a free breakfast and I don’t have to clean anything for 2 days? Heck ya!

best western hotel

And then once we were all settled in our beds Saturday night I remembered 2 very frightening things.

1. The only clean pants that were not packed and in an unmarked box in the garage of the new house were the ones I had been wearing for the past 3 days. And they were filthy. Which meant I had to wash my jeans in the bathtub and hope they’d dry by morning.

2. Holy Sheetz… I am suppose to be on tv on Monday and I totally forgot to make some up-cycled craft projects with old frames.

best western bathroomAnd that’s how I found myself on the bathroom floor of the Best Western at 10 o’clock last night with chicken wire and a hot glue gun with Lucy the puggle dog getting my Martha on.

Some days I think I think I need to be committed.

Have an AWESOME Monday! It can only get better, right?

~Mavis

If you are a local, tune into a New Day Northwest on on King 5 this morning around 11 am and watch me get through my totally unprepared segment about up-cycling picture frames.

And lastly, if you have a kind bone in your body, please, think happy thoughts for my family today as we would really like to move into our house this afternoon. Especially Lucy. ;)

lucy the puggle dog

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.

10 Clever Tips for Getting Kids to Clean Their Rooms

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10 Clever Tips for Getting Kids To Clean Their Rooms

Every kid is different when it comes to the amount of filth they are willing to live in.  I, however, can’t stand to walk by a room in a state of chaos.  When the kids were younger, I could get by for awhile by just shuting the door and ignoring the problem, but eventually, the fact the HH and I paid the mortgage won out, and it was time for them to clean up.  As with everything in life, it is always a little bit easier when you take a funner/more clever approach.

Here’s a couple of tips to help you get the tidy home you want, without become the enemy:

  1. For little ones, get a mini shopping cart.  Each day, set aside some time for them to take the cart through their room {and the house, if necessary}, putting misplaced toys in the shopping cart.  Then, have them unload their cart in their proper places {emphasize that it is just like you put away the groceries}.
  2. Use logic against them.  Let them know that you’ve noticed they have soooo much stuff, they can’t seem to keep it tidy, and that you would like to help them out by helping them get rid of some of it.  Tell them to go through it, and that you will be back in an hour with a donation box.  You’ll be amazed at how resourceful they become at find a place for things…or you’ll feel great about the generous donation your are about to make to a local charity :)
  3. Turn it into a game.  Turn on their favorite song and say, “let’s see how much you can clean up by the end of this song.”
  4. If toys are spilling out of their bedrooms and onto the floors, pick them up and put them in a box.  When/if they ask where something went, explain that you had to pick it up, and now you are tired, so if they would like to do something to earn their toys back and help you out, they are welcome to.  It’s win-win.  Their room will be tidy, and you may get a dusting or vacuuming job out of the deal.
  5. Live with a little bit of chaos.  Establish regular pick-up times and tolerate the in-betweens.  When kids have to keep things perfect all of the time, they resent picking up more.  When they know that they have a little wiggle room all day, but will have to pick up every evening at 7:00 [or whatever}, they are more willing to comply.
  6. Show them how.  Instead of saying, clean your room, show them how to organize.  Clothes get folded and put away.  Barbies go in this bin.  Cars go in that one.  Sorting seems totally logical to us, but in the mind of a kid, picking it all up off of the floor might be all it takes to get the job done.
  7. For older kids, draw up a contract of bare minimums.  These are the minimum things you require daily, and in return, you will not nag or pester them, except for maybe a once a month clean-up.  Decide what your minimums are.  Maybe they just have to have the bed made and dirty clothes in the hamper.
  8. Buy less.  This one might seem like a no-brainer, but seriously, sometimes kids have too much stuff.  From a kid’s point of view, it’s awesome to have every toy ever made, but the reality is that it is impossible to keep things tidy if you have too much stuff.  Help them de-clutter so that pick-up time isn’t that much of a chore.
  9. Schedule clean-up around something fun.  “It’s time to read a book, go to the park, etc., but first we have to clean-up.”  Even kids need a little motivation.
  10. Create a reward system.  For older kids, allowance might be the way to reward.  For younger kids, make a little basket of rewards.  Maybe it has stickers, a small toy, or a homemade coupon to do something they love {i.e. you will push them on the swing for 10 minutes, or they can watch their favorite show, etc.}.  Let them know that if they clean up without complaining for so many times in a row {choose a number that is age appropriate}, they can pick from the basket.

How do you get your kids to clean their room?

~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.

Not Looking Back… Not Even for a Second

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pumpkins

As we closed the garage and walked out of our home of the past eight years last night, the HH turned to me and ask if I was going to miss it.

hugging rhubarb

And I said no. But that didn’t stop me from walking around the backyard and hugging all the plants and hard work I/we left behind.

zucchini

Eight years ago when our kids were 9 and 10 a big house on a wooded acre was a gooood idea. Our kids had plenty of room to run around, dig for treasures and climb trees.

pop up greenhouse

I had a blank slate.

mavis garden blog raised vegetable bedsAnd I filled it to my heart’s content.

shoveling dirt

Over the years we hauled in hundreds of yards of topsoil, planted fruit trees, berry bushes and even installed a greenhouse. It was HARD WORK.

growing vegetables in a greenhouse

And I loved every single minute of it. Until I realized that once Monkey Boy and The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird were gone and off to college, I’d be the only one left to plant the plants, grow the vegetables, and to put up the harvest. And then what? What was I going to do with all of that food?     All that space.

backyard chickens

It the idea of maintaining that lifestyle {chickens included} just became too much. And that’s when we decided to take the plunge and downsize and buy a smaller house on a more manageable sized lot.

About 5 minutes away. :) It was the first and only house we looked at. I knew it was “the one” as soon as I drove by it. The house is by no means my dream home, nor does it have an awesome kitchen, amazing garden space, or any of those things I’d typically look for when shopping for a new home. Not.At.All.

But I saw what it COULD BE.

The house is SCREAMING for a cottage garden to be planted, a kitchen remodel, and some PERSONALITY.

The bones, location and exterior of the home we bought are great and I know with a little help {okay a lot} from Chino the Handyman and his crew it’s going to be AWESOME.

omlet chicken coop eglu cube

We gave all of our chickens, and the Eglu {their lifetime home} to Chino the Handyman’s best friend and his family. They have 4 young kiddos, and just purchased their dream “mini farm.” We know they are going to a good home and most importantly, they will be loved. 

apple tree

The fruit on the trees, beans, cucumbers, lettuce, zucchinis and pumpkins on the vine, we left those behind too. As luck would have it, the family who bought our home has 3 young kiddos and I couldn’t think of a better “Welcome Home” gift to leave them than an instant u-pick garden right in their very own backyard. :)

Change is good. And the fun starts Monday.

Peace Out Girl Scouts,

~ 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.

Moving On…

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mavis butterfield

Over the last few years the HH and I have gone back and forth about selling our house in high maintenance suburbia. And, if all goes as planned, today we’ll be moving out of the house our family has lived in for the past 8 years.

If not, we’ll be sleeping in a box truck alongside the road for a few days while all the paperwork gets sorted. ;)

Change is good.

garage sale

Getting rid of most of the furniture you own is pretty rad too. ;)

messy kitchen moving packing up stuff

Yes, we will miss our neighbors and our tight-knit community, but the empty rooms, enormous yard and the mortgage payment… Nope. Not chance.

We are downsizing… and let me tell you Bob… it feels GOOD.

Priorities change, and so do people, and what was important to us 8 years ago when we bought the place, no longer is. The next few months are going to be crazy, but you know what? I’m looking forward to it. :)

empty room

Here’s just a sample of what I have to look forward to over the next few days:

Wednesday - Arrived home after being on the East Coast for a week.

ThursdayPacking, packing and more packing…

Friday – Still packing, cleaning house and moving out {hopefully}

Saturday – Moving in to our new place {hopefully}

Sunday – Work on 4-5 craft projects for appearance on a New Day Northwest

Monday – New Day Northwest appearance.

Tuesday – Unpack?? Bang head against the wall? Go Crazy?

Wednesday – Renovations begin with Chino the Handyman and his crew.

moving day

Here’s to bigger smaller and better things!

~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.

The College Bucket List – 20 Things to Do Before You Graduate

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The College Bucket List

The Girl sent me a text last night telling me that she is now cured of her fear of heights. She went rock climbing with some friends and “made it to the top,” and then mentioned something about it was totally something she could check off her college bucket list.

When I asked her if she had a bucket list she said “No, but getting over my fear of heights would have been on it if I did.”  The conversation got me to thinking, what would be on a college bucket list?  I mean, when in life will you ever be so free to experience things again if not during college?

Here’s my top 20:

  1. In honor of The Girl, conquer your biggest fears.  Face them head on, and decide if they are really all that bad.  Maybe if you are lucky, like The Girl, you won’t have to carry them around with you for the rest of your life.
  2. Become a local.  Where ever you go for college, really get to know the area.  Make sure to experience the beaches, hikes, the nightlife, and the culture the city/town has to offer.  You may end up staying, and you may not, so live it up there for the 4 {or 5} years it takes to graduate.
  3. Go to at least one “college party.”  It doesn’t mean you have to get crazy and live with a night of hazy regrets, but go, just to say you did it.
  4. Try every single item in the dining hall at least once.  Not because it is good–it probably isn’t, but because it is a goal and a silly challenge.
  5. Join a club.  It sounds ridiculous {at first}, but who knows, you might just meet lifelong friends–or I don’t know, find a purpose in life.  It could be that big. :)
  6. Get bold and ask someone out, knowing full well they could say yes…or no.
  7. Write at least one article for the school newspaper.  Get your voice out there, live in infamy with your name in print.
  8. Be a spectator at at least one sporting event–whether your like sports or not.  It’s campus culture, you have to try it at least once.
  9. Attend some of the extras.  When the school offers guest speakers, etc. make it a point to go.  You may actually have your mind blown.  Plus, once you leave school you have to pay big bucks to hear influential people speak–take advantage of it while it is including in  your already outrageous tuition.snog snogging
  10. Make out with someone for the sake of making out.  Yep, I said it.  Keep it innocent {that’s the mom in me talking}, but in the words of the British, have a little snog and move on. ;)
  11. Volunteer.  Here’s the truth, it will make you feel amazing, AND you just might make connections that will help you after you graduate.
  12. Sit in on classes just because they interest you.  Now is the time to “try on” several possible lives.  Find out what you are passionate about.  Life is really boring without passion.
  13. Learn from heartbreaks.  College inevitably brings heartbreak.  Instead of spiraling into the abyss, use it like you would a college class.  What will you put up with in the future?  Learn how to be strong and independent.  Figure out what it takes to get you back up on your feet.  This is the chance to prove to yourself you don’t need to fall apart and that life goes on.  If you get this one mastered in college, you’ll be WAY AHEAD of most of the adult world.
  14. Learn your limits.  Everyone knows that college can be a drunken debauchery.  This is the time to learn your limits–you may have to learn to live with regrets too, on that note.  Have fun, but figure out exactly where fun ends and regrets begin.
  15. Dumpster dive.  Weird?  Maybe.  But, then again, you just might find some eclectic treasures {velvet Elvis tapestry, anyone?} that you will carry with your until your future spouse finally makes  you throw it away…again.  {You may learn a thing or two about our throw away culture while you are at it.}
  16. Take a road trip.  College road trips are the best.  You are already used to living in tight quarters, so your expenses will be shockingly low.  Grab some friends and see how far you can get on a tank of gas.  See the country.
  17. Figure out your learning style.  This one little nugget of information will help you the rest of your life.  Find out if you need absolute silence, the pressure of deadlines, or gobs of time to complete a task.  Learn how you put out your best work–you can apply it to the rest of your life.
  18. Have an actual conversation with one of your professors.  You, my friends, are adults now.  You have the right to speak freely, have a conversation with another adult.  Don’t let their acquired knowledge/wisdom be a classroom/lecture only situation.  Have a real conversation during office hours.  They just might say something you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life.
  19. Participate in at least on campus tradition.  Go to homecoming, sing your school song at the top of your lungs on game days, run naked through the quads–whatever your school traditions are, try at least one…to say you did.
  20.  Embrace the luxury of being “impractical.”  Odds are, your major has some elective wiggle room.  This is the time to throw in ballroom dancing, photography, basket weaving with a field hockey emphasis–whatever, just explore the fun of it.

Have any more to add?  Maybe some you did…or some you didn’t do, and have always regretted?

~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.

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