Grandmas Cherry Cola Jello Salad Recipe

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Cherry Cola Jell-O Salad

I grew up eating my grandmother’s jello salad creations at every holiday meal and they were awesome.  In fact I’m fairly certain she had stock in Kraft Foods because I don’t remember ever sitting down to a meal without some sort of jello salad on the table. This recipe for cherry cola jello salad is my all time favorite though and it’s perfect alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.

Cherry Cola Jello Salad Recipe

Ingredients

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 can cherry pie filling
1 {20 oz} can crushed pineapple
1 large box cherry Jell-o
1 cup cherry cola {I used cherry Pepsi}

Cherry Cola Jello Salad Recipe

Directions

Pour cherry Jell-o into a large glass or ceramic serving dish and set aside.

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to boil. Add pie filling, stir and bring back to a boil. Carefully pour hot liquid over gelatin and stir until it is all dissolved. Add pineapple and cola. Stir well. Refrigerate until set.

Serve alongside turkey instead of cranberry sauce or as a dessert with a little whipping cream.

Looking for more dessert recipes? Check out my Dessert Recipe Index or my Dessert Board on Pinterest.

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 Tips For Teenage Babysitters

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10 Tips For Teenage Babysitters

When the kids were little, it seemed like just finding a teenager to babysit the kids for a couple of hours was a triumph.  First, you had to know their parents…and then feel comfortable about the kind of house they were coming from.  You also had to get a teenager who was actually available to watch the little critters on the weekends–because it seemed like they all had an endless list of obligations that made playing Monopoly with my kids on a Saturday night seem like an scheduling nightmare.  Once, I did score a sitter both the kids and I like, though, I tried reaaaaaallly hard to make sure they wanted to babysit for us.   I stocked the fridge, I had kids bathed and in jammies…and I paid well.

Flashfoward 10 years, and The Girl started babysitting.  I never really thought about the whole babysitting gig from the teenagers perspective until The Girl took her first job.  They are kind of walking into the unknown–other people’s houses, with their rules, their kids, their everything.  Over the years, she became one of those babysitters that the kids loved and the parents adored.  She was responsible and  reliable.  What more could you ask for?  {I might be biased :) }  I think that had a lot to do with her learning what to ask and what to expect.  So, if you have a teenager about to start babysitting, here are a couple of tips for them:

  1. Make sure to ask about food.  Not just for you own munching pleasure, but for the kids.  Are they allowed to have a snack?  Have they had dinner?  If not, what would they like you to cook?
  2. Even after the kids go to bed, it doesn’t mean it’s time to pop in a horror movie.  Air on the side of caution, out of the respect for the unknown expectation of the family you are sitting for, and keep all television watching light and airy.
  3. Get a very clear understanding of the kids’ routines.  What time should the kids go to bed?  What is the bedtime routine–do they get a story, snack, etc?
  4. It’s absolutely okay to ask what time you can expect Mom and Dad home.  In addition, once you know, let your own parents know what time they can expect you home.
  5. It’s best to talk money BEFORE you babysit.  It’s awkward and hard at first, but if you say it right away, it usually goes better.  Have a number in mind.  For example, when Mrs. Smith calls to ask if you would be interested in babysitting this Friday, you can say, “Yes.  I charge $5/hour per child.  Does that work for you?”  Believe me, most adults are not put-off by a kid who seems to have their ducks in a row.
  6. As a general rule of thumb, just don’t answer the door or phone while babysitting.  {I am assuming you will have a cell phone, otherwise, you may have to answer the phone.}  It’s airing on the side of caution, and a black and white rule just makes life easier.
  7. Bring a pen and paper.  Write down the address and cell phone numbers of the parents.  Ask the parents if their is a neighbor they trust home–in case you need help.  It’s just best to have all of the information written down because in the event of an emergency, it will be hard to remember.
  8. Bring activities with you.  It’s what sets the really great babysitters apart.  It can be a craft, a board game, etc.  Make it age appropriate for the kids you are watching.  Trust me, it will make the time go by much faster too.
  9. Let the parent know if they are having you do something you aren’t comfortable with…like administering medication, or adding additional children than you originally thought {i.e. little Tommy invited a friend to spend the night…surprise!}
  10. Stay with the kids at all times.  Put away your phone, and give the kids your full and undivided attention until after they are asleep.  Afterall, that’s what you are getting paid for.

The Girl got busy her last years of high school and didn’t babysit much, so I must confess, I am not sure what the going rate is for a good sitter right now…maybe some of you can chime in and let any potential new sitters know what a fair rate might be?

~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.

How Texts Change as Relationships Mature

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How Texts Change as Relationships Mature

Do you text your hubby {or wife} during the day?  Ever stopped to think about how those texts have changed as the years have gone by?  I never really gave it much thought–especially because the HH and I were oldyweds by the time texting really became a huge thing.  But, when I ran across an article about a couple who compared their 1st year of dating texts with their 6th year of marriage texts, it make me think about how much communication with your spouse changes over the years.  Read:  less lovey-dovey and more…um, comfortable?

The couple in the article started with their 1st year of texts {the guy made a clever little word document of all of their texts from their first year for their “1 year of dating anniversary”} and then compared the frequency of commonly used words with their 6th year of marriage texts.  They looked at words like love, home, dinner, OK, and how often they used each other’s names.  No surprises in their findings really:  They used each other’s names less as time went on, the word love showed up less, home and dinner were used about the same amount of times {but the content in which they were used changed}, the frequency of “OK” sky-rocketed as the years went on.

I’m not really sure if the take-away is a good one or bad one.  Sure, we become more comfortable and don’t need to use each other’s names {they just become your husband or wife}, love is probably assumed, and “OK” I get–I mean, you’re are texting to communicate at this point, not to flirt.

What do you think, has the way you communicate via with your significant other changed as the years have gone by?  Is it a good thing, or a bad thing?

~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.

Eye Strain Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

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mavis butterfield super clean office space

For the last week or so my eyes have been killing me, and I’ve been getting massive headaches. At first I thought it might be all the paint and general construction fumes, but then I looked into the symptoms of eye strain and holy cats people, I think I have a diagnosis–thank you Dr. Google.

When I read about the causes and symptoms, it’s actually a wonder I’ve never had this before. Eye strain basically occurs when your eyes get tired from being over-worked.  Here’s a list of basic symptoms {I pulled these right off of mayoclinic.com}:

  • Sore, tired or burning eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Headache
  • Sore Neck and/or back
  • Shoulder pain
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Trouble focusing

Since there are a huge variety of causes, treatment ranges from simple lifestyle changes to a little more comprehensive  medical solutions.  I, personally, was spending too much time on the computer, which caused me to have difficulty focusing, I wasn’t getting enough sleep, and am drinking too much caffeine {I know that I need to cut back}.  Other causes are poor lighting, reading for too long, glare from a screen, and driving for extended periods of time.  Of course, stress can make you more susceptible to getting eye strain {stress can pretty much wreak havoc on your health, in general}, so I am sure the stress of a major remodel caused me to be vulnerable.  Changes in the air that make it dryer can also irritate eyes and leave them more susceptible to strain.

tea cup

So, how do you fix it?  Start simple {unless you have double vision or sudden onset of severe headache–in which case you probably better just pop over to your doctor’s to play it safe}.  Make sure to get plenty of sleep.  Sleep will give your peepers a chance to chill out and rest.  Limit your screen time–easier said than done if you job requires a computer.  If less screen time isn’t an option, try changing the brightness settings on your computer–it should be as bright as the room you are working in, and no brighter.  You can make the text bigger, or change the color display, making it a bit warmer, and not so hard on the eyes.  Adding a lubricating eye drop to your daily routine might help a bit as well.  Taking regular breaks from computer work will help as well {and bonus:  regular breaks have been shown to actually boost productivity}.  If your symptoms don’t resolve within a couple of days, it’s probably time to make an appointment with your eye doctor, just to rule out changes in vision.

Now that I know I am not going to stroke out on my brand new kitchen floor, I guess I am going to have to swap some bad habits for better ones.  Who knew your eyes could get so upset and cause your body to turn on 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.

Black Friday Leaks Into Thanksgiving Day

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mavis pilgrim

Remember when EVERYTHING was closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter?  It was hard to find a gas station, let alone a grocery store for those “uh-oh, I burned the…” moments.  Nowadays, though, stores are opening their doors so that shoppers can get a head start on their holiday shopping.  Retailers are looking to get the corner on the market and bolster their sales with by milking every moment of holiday shopping possible.

According to Huffington Post, Target will open its doors at 6 p.m. on Thursday.  Target announced that they will provide incentive pay for employees, and try, if possible to take volunteers to work the once no-work-day holiday.  Other stores, like J.C. Penney, Toys R Us, and Kmart will also open their doors sometime Thanksgiving evening.  For some, I know that Black Friday is a bigger holiday than Thanksgiving.  I can appreciate the tradition of meeting sisters, girlfriends, etc. with coffee in hand and hitting the pavement, all while Christmas lights twinkle and sales hit epic proportions, but, I have to ask…are the deals really worth it?  I am not asking with judgement, but I’d rather stay home and avoid the crowds and chaos.  Traditions change.  Priorities change.  I get that.  But, what are we giving up?  What are we gaining?

I kind of just want to open it up for discussion.  What do you think?  Are we gaining more than we are losing by having the stores open on the Holidays?  Or is it vice-versa?

~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.

Mavis Remodel Blog Day 42 – It Was a Good Day

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kohler memories sink

Today was a good day. And I’m glad, because yesterday kind of stunk.

garbage disposal

The Italian Plumber Who Lives with his Mother was suppose to install the kitchen sink, garbage disposal, dishwasher and a toilet and sink in the powder room. moen faucet square base

But the faucet didn’t fit and there was clamp that went MIA for the dishwasher. :(

I had the HH pick out a new facet on his way home {above} so hopefully when the plumber comes back at the end of the week he’ll have a clamp for the dishwasher and I’ll FINALLY be able to wash dishes in the kitchen sink like a normal person.

I tell ya, washing dishes in the bathroom gets old. Real.Quick.

target carlise barstools

On a happier note… We have barstools! This means we don’t have to eat on the floor anymore like a bunch of weirdos. Wahooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! devine mirage grey paint target

I don’t know what the heck I went to Target for this morning but I walked out of there with a can of grey paint. How does that even happen? While I was browsing I wandered over to an aisle with a bunch of peel and stick wall decals {and paint}. And in that moment I somehow decided painting the inside of my pantry grey would be a good idea.

pink paint

So imagine my surprise when I opened the can and the paint was PINK!

Clearly hopped up on too much caffeinated tea, I was like “Okay, it’s sign, I guess I’m suppose to paint the pantry pink…”

grey paint from target

But after a quick stir the paint was back to grey. :( I was kind of bummed.

new pantry shelves

What do you think? Don’t they look cool? Now all I need to do is unpack our food.

Weeeee….

~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.

10 Money Saving Tips for Hosting a Thanksgiving Day Feast

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10 Money Saving Tips for Hosting a Thanksgiving Day Feast

Have you ever offered to host something, because you thought the whole tradition of it would be awesome, and then, after you had committed, realized that it was going to require you to take an advance on your retirement in order to afford it?  Thanksgiving can totally be one of those times.  Over the years, though, I have learned quite a few ways to put on a generous spread and still keep the budget in mind.

If you are hosting this year, here are a couple of ideas to keep money in your pocket and food on the table:

  1. Right off the bat, the easiest way to have a nice spread is to go potluck, or at the very least, take people up on it when they offer to bring something.  It totally eases your load in the kitchen too.
  2. It’s never too early to stock up on non-perishables.  If you notice that chicken broth is on sale {and be still your beating heart, there is a coupon too!} in September, swipe it up and store it for the big day.
  3. Make up for upfront costs with creative uses of left-overs.  Make turkey pot pies with leftovers that you can freeze for later, when you aren’t sick to death of the sight of turkey.  Supplementing later meals will help to balance out your budget.
  4. Know common ingredient substitutions.  No need to buy buttermilk if you can make it with the ingredients you already have at home.  It could save you a lot of time and money to just use what you already have.
  5. Keep the meal simple.  Yes, it would be awesome to make every single recipe you pinned on your appetizer board on Pinterest, but that gets time consuming and costly.  Be realistic about how much food you actually need.
  6. Use what you already have for your centerpiece.  Cut some boughs off of your tree, sprinkle in a couple of candles, put fall leaves in mason jars, etc. and you have an instant centerpiece that cost nothing.
  7. If you serve alcohol, keep it simple.  Provide beer and wine.  Anything more gets super expensive.
  8. If you only use sage and thyme {or whatever the spice may be} once a year, consider buying it in the bulk section of your store.  I know the word “bulk” implies that you have to buy a ton, but that’s the beauty, you can literally just get the tablespoon worth you need.  It will save you big bucks–and valuable kitchen storage space.
  9. Hit Farmer’s Markets.  You can usually find a much better deal on produce around this time of year if you have access to a farmer’s market.
  10. Cut out the convenience foods altogether.  For example, a jar of gravy costs waaay more than homemade gravy, which literally cost pennies and extra time.

Do you have any money saving tips for hosting the Big Feast?

~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.

Winter Gardening – Growing Paperwhites Indoors

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Growing Paperwhites Indoors

I picked up some paperwhites at The Home Depot sale yesterday.  I plan on growing them in my kitchen window so that they will be ready for my holiday table.  They are super easy to grow indoors, and by the time the gray days of winter set in, it’s kind of nice to bring the outdoors in.

They also work as a fantastic last minute birthday or hostess gift if you are in a pinch, because you can simply take them off of your counter and hand them to someone {not that I’ve every done that before or anything}. ;)

planting paperwhites

You’ll Need:

  • A container {only about 3-4″ deep} with no drainage holes
  • Gravel or polished rocks
  • Paperwhites
  • Moss {optional}

planting paperwhites for December blooms

Directions:

Put about 2″ of gravel or polished rocks in the bottom of your container and spread it out evenly.  Set the bulbs on top of the gravel, pointed end up. I like to pack ‘em in there, because they end up looking better in a big bunch.  Add another layer of gravel on top, but leave the pointed tops uncovered. I always like to add a little bit of moss on top of the gravel/rocks because I think it looks kind of cool {and HELLO, I have oodles of it}.

planting paperwhites

Add water to the container–enough that the water reaches the bottom of the bulb.  Careful not to cover the bulb with water, though, or it will rot. Store the container in a cool dark place until they start to develop roots.  You may need to add water every so often.  When the roots form, move the container to a sunny window sill and let them bloom.  Once they have bloomed, move them away from direct light, and they will last longer–which is perfect, because that’s about when you’ll want to put them on the table.

chicken in grass

Happy planting,

~ 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 Evolution of Fruit and Vegetables

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The Evolution of Fruit and Vegetables

Recently, One Hundred Dollar a Month reader, Tiffany, sent me a link on Facebook to an article about the ways fruits and vegetables have changed over thousands of years.  Turns out, the uber sweet fruits that we take for granted today haven’t always been the dessert-like whole food that we have come to expect.  Maybe that’s why our ancestors were so fit?  Not only did their fruit have less naturally occurring sugars, but it took them a heck of a lot more effort to get them to an edible state.  {Can you say beating the outside of the original watermelon with a stone until its thick skin broke open, revealing a tiny, bitter bit of fruit?  Uh, sounds exhausting.}

The article broke down a couple of the most common fruits.  Let me just blow your mind with these little tidbits:  The original peach {sounds gangsta :) } was about 1/4 the size of what we know peaches to be now.  It had waxy skin, was 36% stone, and only about 64% of the flesh was edible.  Corn was NOTHING like the big ear of potentially buttery goodness we eat today.  It was about 9 mm long, and it tasted like a dry potato.  Oh, and just to get into it, it had to be hammered repeatedly.

purple cherokee tomato

After reading the article, I’ve decided, we’re spoiled.  We have only the sweetest, juiciest varieties of fruits and veggies.  In fact, we ship them in from all over the world just to make sure.  I think it has gotten even worse since I was a wee kid.  When I was younger, the fruit was primarily what grew best in your region.  We just didn’t have access to everything under the sun {literally}.  How about you, do you remember eating a certain fruit or veggie as a kid that tastes different now?

~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.

Food Waste – Raising Awareness on a Global Problem

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National Geographic recently featured an article about Tristam Stuart–a man out of the U.K. committed to reducing food waste across Europe and America.  Stuart started his campaign against food waste unknowingly when he was only 15.  He wanted to raise pigs for a little extra money, and to keep food costs low, he fed them with perfectly consumable food waste and left-overs from local shops and his school kitchen.  He realized that the sheer volume of food waste was contributing to massive environmental problems.

Flash-foward 22 years, now Stewart spends his days in a grass roots campaign to reduce food waste in Britain, convince grocery stores to reduce their aesthetic requirements on food, and raise awareness about the environmental impact food waste causes.  In the article, he is quoted, ”Producing this huge surplus leads to deforestation, depleted water supplies, massive fossil fuel consumption, and biodiversity loss,” Stuart says. “Excess food decomposing in landfills accounts for 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by wealthy nations.”  If that’s not enough, he mentions that each day, thousands of pounds of food are “wasted” in production methods in countries where people aren’t getting enough food–all so we can get perfect looking green beans.

One of the coolest reductions in food waste that Stuart advocates is called the Pig Project.  He is working to have the laws changed that restrict what we can feed pigs–namely, leftover food scraps and otherwise wasted food.  He notes that America alone ships in “millions of tons of soy from South America to feed pigs,” when we should be feeding them the stale bread, etc. that would otherwise be destined for the landfills..

I am all for any efforts that help us to use our resources more effectively.  In this day and age, we shouldn’t have malnourished people–or people unable to afford healthy whole foods.  Our landfills shouldn’t be littered with food scraps at all.  There are TONS of perfectly viable solutions to making sure we get the most out of each morsel, whether we donate to food kitchens, get over our love of the perfect “looking” foods, feed left-overs to live stock…or even on a last ditch effort, compost the leftovers into usable goodness to grow more.

I think the best place to start is our own kitchens.  What do YOU do to reduce food waste?  What areas could you improve on?

~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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