See the Country in Exchange for Your Time on an Organic Garden – Become a WWOOFer

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wooffing

I recently found out about a program called WWOOF {Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms}.  It is basically a collaboration of organic farms/gardens all around the country that have agreed to open their mini-farms up to visitors interested in visiting {and putting in a 1/2 day of manual labor} in exchange for education, room and board.  I literally LOVE the idea, and thought it might be a really cool way for The Girl and I to travel the country this summer.

The whole idea started in England {wouldn’t you know it, those clever Brits}, and has spread worldwide.  The USA chapter is thriving, with over 1900 participating farms/garden.

wwoofing

To become a WWOOFer {which I will do, just so I can call myself a WWOOFER}, you have to sign up.  It costs between $40-$50, depending on which option you choose.  Once you sign up, you receive a directory of all of the farms participating in the program.  Then you make a plan and contact the garden to arrange a visit.  Oh, and P.S., it’s not just gardens, you can choose from homesteads, ranches, orchards, etc.  You can also become a host, if practice organic growing techniques, and you would like to open up your farm/garden and house to visitors.  I’ll admit, if I had a bigger operation, I wouldn’t mind somebody popping by to help me with the weeding for 1/2 a day in exchange for dinner and a bed.

Holy buckets, people, if this is not the most Utopian idea I’ve heard in a long time, I don’t know what is.  How cool would it be to meet other people, learn different gardening tricks, and then get the rest of the day to explore the place you’ve landed?  It would be awesome, I tell ya.

Has anyone tried this before?  If not, would you be interested in trying it?

~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 Do I Keep My Vegetable Starts Watered While I’m Out of Town?

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tomato seedlings

One Hundred Dollar a Month reader, Kristin, recently sent in a question about keeping veggie starts watered if you need to leave town and can’t convince someone that seedlings are enough reason to pop over to your house each day.  It’s actually something I’ve learned to deal with myself, as the HH cannot always be trusted to water in my absence.

dead tomato plants

Kristin writes,

“Hi Mavis – I enjoy seeing all of your progress and have learned so much from your blog. But, now I have a question! I live in NE Indiana, so I start my garden seed inside mid-Feb, and plant in late April. This year, however, I am required to go out of town for a week in March. Dosen’t the world know I have a garden to start? Anyway, I have grow lights on timers, but how can I keep my new little starts watered?! I have no access to a “plant-sitter”. Do you, or your readers, have any suggestions? Please help! Kristin”

seed starting trays{lettuce seedlings I started last week}

First, you want to start with the right supplies, plain and simple.  You want to have a grow tray AND a plant tray underneath your seedlings, then you can fill the tray underneath with water and the seedlings will suck up the water as needed–just like they would in nature {I like these ones, because they don’t have holes in the bottom}.  I like to cut out one square out of my growing trays, so that I can easily pour water into the tray without having to lift the grow tray up every time.  Afterall, I don’t want to disturb my precious babies seedlings, and it doesn’t really hurt that it makes it waaaaay easier to water.  It’s also nice to be able to see exactly how much water is in the plant tray, so that it doesn’t come sloshing out over the sides.

This method should buy you a week–unless the humidity is you house is impossibly dry.

I hope that helps!  If any of you have any other suggestions, make sure to leave them in the comments below.

~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.

2015 Fee-Free National Parks Admission Days

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Mt.-Rainier-National-Park-waterfallI have some big plans to explore the US this year. Some of our national parks top my list of awesome places to vacation to. I’m not sure if you know this about me, but I’m kind of anti camping, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love the outdoors, cause I totally do! I’ll hike all day, as long as I get to curl up in soft, warm hotel bed at night. Our National Parks have some of the most incredible scenery I’ve ever seen.

Some of the best National Parks charge admission fees {133 parks out of 400}, so you’ll want to pay attention to the list of 2015 fee-free days below if you’re planning on visiting one of the fee-based national parks anytime soon:

Free National Park Admission Dates:

  • January 19: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • February 14-16: Presidents Day weekend
  • April 18-19: Opening weekend of National Park Week
  • August 25: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 26: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

If you’re planning a trip that includes multiple national parks, you might consider the $80 annual pass that provides entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other Federal lands-more than 2,000 in all. The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is offered free to all active duty military members and their dependents.

*Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

Mt. Rainier National Park vacations

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.

Where in the World Was Mavis in 2014?

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parisMuch like 2013, 2014 found me all over the world and then some. It’s been a great year of travel. I’ve seen a few familiar places and a whole lot of new favorites too! When I actually sit down to piece together where all I’ve traveled and put it in one place, it even surprises me. I’ve had some pretty amazing trips this year. Check out everywhere I’ve traveled in 2014:LeMay-Car-Museum

Tacoma, Washington: Okay, okay. So it’s practically in my backyard. But the thing about living in a place for so long, you sometimes forget to get out there and explore the very are you live in. We did that and had a blast!

LaMay Car Museum
Tacoma Home and Garden Show

luray-caverns-virginiaThe East Coast: As most of you know, we bought a vacation home back east, so clearly there will be lots of east coast travel each year. We love everything about it. It’s a change of pace, a change of scenery, a change in climate. The best thing about having  a landing spot of your own on the opposite side of the country is the opportunity it gives you to explore so many new places. And explore the east coast we did!

Charlottesville, Virgina
Sturbridge, Massachusetts
Old Sturbridge Village New England Living History Museum
Luray Caverns- Luray, Virginia
Lancaster Central Market – Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
HersheyPark and Desserts Etc. Cafe in Hershey, Pennsylvania
James Madison’s Montpelier

parliament-buildings-victoria-bcBritish Columbia: Last summer I took The Girl and one of her BFF’s to Victoria, BC for our last girls trip before the girls headed off to college. I’m so glad I did. It was so much fun. They loved it. I loved it. And we all agreed it was so much more amazing than we had expected.

Victoria, British Columbia Flowers
Top 10 Things to do in Victoria, BC

mavis-red-phone-booth-londonEurope: The Girl and I have been to Europe many times together, but there was something about this trip, our last big trip before she left home, that made it that much more incredible. I’m not sure if I was more aware of my time with her, or if, even when everything was going wrong, it really was one of the most amazing trips we’ve ever taken.

221B Baker Street Sherlock Holmes Museum
Love Lock Bridge- Paris, France
Paris Walking Tour Goes Awry
Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew Garden
The Garden Museum- London, England
Walking Around London – Pastries, Snogging and Museums
The Catacombes- Paris, France

Tillamook-Cheese-Factory-Tour-and-Farmhouse-CafePortland, Oregon: We took a mini spring break trip to Portland and let me tell you Bob, we packed a lot into just a few short days! Delicious donuts, cheese, Bob’s Red Mill, books galore, Goonies and more. It was a whirlwind, but so much fun checking out a city not to far from our own stomping ground.  That means less travel time and more time to explore.

Voodoo Doughnuts – Portland, OR
Pendleton Woolen Mill Store
Tillamook Cheese Factory Tour and Farmhouse Cafe
The Goonies House – Astoria, OR
I Found My Lost Gardening Book at Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, OR
Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store and Cafe

So there you have it. Everywhere I’ve traveled. Where have you ventured this past year? Any places I need to put on my must-go list for 2015?

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.

Johnny T Gives Subway Tips

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Where I live, I don’t take a ton of public transportation, but when we travel, we totally take advantage of it if it’s available.  I thought this video about subway courtesy was a hoot–and so applicable to pretty much any kind of public transport, in any city.

On a totally unrelated note, I find puppets in leisure suits more amusing than I should.

~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 to Travel on an Airplane with Kids

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How to Travel on an Airplane with Kids

Now that my kids  are older, I don’t really have to entertain them like I did when they were younger. When we do travel together though, we get a chance to see A LOT of exhausted mothers and fathers trying to keep their little ones occupied and out of other passengers hairs.  We feel for them, we really do.  It’s a lot of work to travel with little ones–in fact, traveling with little ones is more of a trip than a vacation sometimes.

Here’s a couple of tips, if you plan to travel with the kiddos over the holidays that will keep them happy and you sane:

  1. Convince them that they WILL be taking a nap on the plane.  However you do this will depend on your child {and of course, reasoning with a child that is too young is impossible}.  Perhaps you can tell them they won’t get to do {fill in the blank} when they get to your destination unless they take a nap.  Be willing to follow through, though, so at least the ride home will be easier when they know you mean what you say, if they choose not to take a nap.
  2. Embrace technology.  Yes, kids watch too much T.V., play too many video games, etc.  But, now is not the time to get on that high horse.  You are in survival mode.  they cannot go out and play in the fresh air {though, you may be tempted to throw them overboard after a long flight}.  They are stuck, just like you, so give in, and give them some entertainment.  Bring a portable DVD player, and iPad, etc.  Download a movie they haven’t seen before, so they will be captivated, for at least an hour of the flight.  It’s a small concession in the big picture.
  3. Get new color books, activity books, crayons, markers, etc.  Make a big deal about buying them, and then save them for the trip.  Get them out ONLY once you are on the plane.
  4. Snacks.  Snacks.  Snacks.  Do not allow a “hangry” child to ruin the flight when it is totally avoidable.  Pack enough snacks to get you through the apocalypse–you won’t regret the space it takes up in your carry-on, I guarantee it.
  5. Books.  You can either read to your child, or if they are old enough, let them pick out a new book to read on the plane.  My little ones were amused for quite awhile when I simply read to them.  We would talk in detail about each book, just to stretch out the entertainment value.
  6. Play dough.  For slightly older kids, bring a SMALL thing of play dough.  Have them mold something and you have to guess what it is–or vice versa, you tell them what to shape, and then they try.
  7. Tea party.  What little girl doesn’t love a tea party?  Bring tiny plastic tea cups and plates.  Pour their juice/water/milk into the tea cups and place their snacks on the plates.  It will take up minimal room, and will entertain most little girls for quite awhile.
  8. Card games.  Bring a deck of Old Maid or Crazy 8′s.  When kids have your undivided attention, they will typically behave–or at least, mine usually did.
  9. If you have really little ones, bring a towel AND a changing pad.  You never know where you may have to change them, and a towel can cover the seats a lot better than a changing pad.  It drapes and hopefully makes working in super tight quarters a little easier.
  10. Plastic grocery bags.  These are priceless when traveling.  They can hold soiled clothes, diapers, or become a quick makeshift garbage can.  They have a ton of uses, and they crumple down to nothing.
  11. Wet wipes.  Even if you are past the diaper stage, you want these.  They can clean spills, stick hands, etc.  They are a must-have, in general, in my opinion.
  12. Think about travel day clothing.  Kids have to remove their shoes and jackets too, so if possible, choose shoes that are easy to remove and put back on.  Same goes for clothing–stash jackets in your suitcase if you can.  It will make security much easier.
  13. Gum or a binky.  Landing and taking off hurts little one’s ears.  They can’t help it.  So, if  you have a baby, make sure to pack their binky, or if you have old enough kids, have them chew gum during take off and landing.  They will encourage their ears to pop, lessening the painful pressure.
  14. Demand everyone at least try to go to the bathroom BEFORE take-off.  Helping a little one in the airplane bathroom is like trying to shove two people into a hamster ball.  It is not fun.
  15. Bring extra clothing for each child.  You may not need it, but if you do, you will be super thankful.  Plus, if your luggage gets lost, you will be ready to start your vacation without too much inconvenience.

How about you, any travel tips you’ve picked up over the year while traveling with your kids?

~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 Things to Do in Salt Lake City, Utah

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10 Things to Do in salt lake city

I know that when you think vacation, Salt Lake City isn’t the first place that pops to mind, but if you are looking for a really family friendly atmosphere, you may want to give it another look.  Turns out, there are TONS of things to do in Salt Lake.  Everytime I go, I am struck by all of the fun things they have to entertain a family with kids of all ages.

skiing in park city utah

Here’s a couple of suggestions if you find yourself headed that way:

  1. Park City.  It’s just a short drive form SLC, and it is notorious for a reason.  In the winter, you can ski.  In the summer, you can enjoy hikes, local venues, and great food.  If shopping is your thing, they have a pretty big outlet mall.
  2. Temple Square.  LDS or not, Temple Sqaure is beautiful.  It has well-manicured lawns, and if religious history is your thing, you will find plenty of opportunities for it here.  The architecture alone is worth a quick stroll through the grounds.
  3. Cathedral of Madeline.  This is another beautiful church.  Inside, organ music is playing most of the day.
  4. Hogle Zoo.  If you are not from a large city that hosts a zoo, Hogle is a must-see.  They have lots of natural habitat exhibits, elephants, rhinos, giraffes…you know, all the cool animals.
  5. Discovery Gateway.  If you are traveling with younger kids, Discovery Gateway is a HUGE hands-on discovery museum.  You won’t have to worry about them  breaking anything here–everything is meant to be played with.
  6. Sugarhouse Park.  Sugarhouse is the kind of trendy place to live in SLC, and it also boasts a really cool park, with streams, a pond, running trails, and playgrounds.  Time it right, and you might be able to catch a farmer’s market or an outdoor show.
  7. Lagoon.  Okay, so this is actually outside of SLC in Farmington, but it is great amusement park.  It has several roller coasters, and best of all, they let you drag in a cooler to feed and water your kiddos.  On hot days, you can add the water park to your ticket.
  8.  Thanksgiving Point is just a short drive outside of SLC and offers tons of summer concerts and events.  If concerts aren’t your thing, you can just stroll the gardens for free.  They really are impressive.
  9. If you caught some of the World Cup fever recently, you should totally check out a Salt Lake Real game.  It’s their professional soccer team, and the games are rumored to be reaaalllly fun.
  10. Big Cottonwood Canyon.  This is an amazing place to hike, snowshoe, and enjoy family picnics.  The canyon is seriously soooo beautiful anytime of year.

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 Things to Do in Memphis

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10 Things to Do in Memphis

Memphis is one of those iconic American cities.  It houses so much by way of music culture–and a few years ago on my St. Jude or Bust trip, I had a chance to really check it out.  If you ever get the chance to explore it, here are a couple of must-not-miss stops:

graceland

  1. Graceland.  Elvis is still alive and well in Memphis.  Everyday, hundreds of tourists line up to walk through Elvis’s home, known as Gracaeland.  The decor alone is worth the trip.  It’s a hoot.  Plus, you can see the letters/posters from thousands of still-devoted fans lined along the gates.   It’s craziness.
  2. Peabody Ducks.  The Peabody hotel is famous for their daily duck show.  Each day, you can watch the ducks parade around the very elegant lobby.  What more can I possibly say?  It’s Memphis, baby.Beale St, Memphis
  3. Beale Street.  It really doesn’t matter, Monday through Sunday Beale Street is hopping with live music and BBQ.
  4. Mud Island River Park.  this park is free, and you can take a stroll along the Mississippi River.
  5. Memphis Botanic Garden.  Um, hello, have we met?  Of course you know I am going to include a garden on my list of suggestions.
  6. Memphis Zoo.  This is a great stop if you have little ones.  It’s certainly not the biggest zoo ever, but they do have a Panda bear, which is rad.
  7. Elmwood Cemetery.  Okay, call me nuts, but I LOVE walking through cemeteries.  Memphis has soooo much history–it represents the good, bad, and ugly in our country.
  8. Memphis Rock and Soul Museum.  If you are a music fan, this is a must-stop museum
  9. Slave Haven – This is the former home of the Burlke family, turned small museum.  It was one of the stops for the underground railroad, and it is worth seeing.
  10. Woodruff-Fontaine House.  This is a mansion built in 1870 that is now open to the public as a museum.  It is fully furnished and has mannequins dressed in 1870′s garb, making it a pretty cool little tour.  Fair warning:  there is a doll display that borderlines on creepy.

Have any of you been to Memphis?  What is your favorite thing to do?

~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 Catacombes – Paris, France

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bones catacombs paris

While in Paris last spring, The Girl and I made sure to stop at The Catacombes.   We ended up getting there about an hour before closing and barely made it in, but let me tell you Bob, I am glad we did.  It was eerily worth it.

catacombes paris france

The Catacombes are directly under the streets of Paris, in fact, to this day, they actually limit the structural possibilities above ground.  It’s the reason there aren’t really any tall buildings above the Catacombes–structurally, the ground could not withstand the weight load.

grave catacombes paris france

The Catacombes operated as a tomb in Paris beginning in 1786.  It actually began because the Cemetery of the Innocents had started to cause infection problems for the local citizens {that probably says a little something about the times, don’t you think?}.  The Council of State decided to close the Cemetery of the Innocents and move the remains.  At the time, it was decided that unused quarries {now the Catacombes} would make a suitable home for the remains.

In true French tradition, the moving of the remains began, but only by night and with the escort and blessing of priests.  From 1786-1788, they moved the bones in carts to their new resting place.  The Catacombes also began taking the remains of all the cemeteries in Paris in 1814.

Although many of the royals were reported to have visited the Catacombes to quell their curiosity, it didn’t really become a “tourist” destination until the early 19th century.

catacombes parisEven though the walls of bones were artfully stacked, it still seemed like something out of a horror movie.  It’s almost hard to believe that these were real people once.

But as with so many things in Europe, it’s part of history, and I’m glad we were able to see it.

~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 Best Fall Road Trips

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The Best Fall Road Trips

I love the idea of road trips.  Packing everything into the car and taking off allows you to experience so much more of the country than a quick airplane flight.  Even when the road is littered with, well, ugliness, it kind of give you a new appreciation for the beauty in things when it is there.

This list of road trips is more of a bucket list than from experience.  It’s all the trips I would like to take…eventually.

  1. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.  Apparently in about the 3rd week of October the trees are a color that will leave you speechless.  Plus, with the water right there, the reflection adds to the whole experience.  Taking the drive from Washington D.C. to Harpers Ferry is supposed to give you the most bang for your buck.   Plus, once you are there, you might as check out Bolivar Heights, an old civil war battlefield.
  2. Twain’s Great River Road.  Mark Twain  made this adventure iconic and with good reason, the trip down the Mississippi to Hannibal, MO will provide a wall of color in the fall.  It’s a chance to see what inspired one of America’s greatest story tellers.  {Better re-read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer one more time before you go.}  In Hannibal, you can visit Twain’s childhood home.
  3. Coastal Maine.  Start in Portland and make your way up Route 1.  You’ll get to see the trees changing, the lighthouses, and maybe stop off at Cape Elizabeth for a FRESH lobster dinner.
  4. Vermont.  Who doesn’t want to be able to say, “Oh, you should see Vermont in the fall.”  It is legendary for a reason.  It boasts some of the most scenic fall foliage in the country.  The Green Mountain and Mad River Byways are supposed to be pretty spectacular.  Along the way, you can stop off at Cold Hollow Cider Mill and do some cider tasting.  It doesn’t get more fall than that.
  5. Lake Placid, NY.  Getting to experience the color in the Adirondacks {the largest wilderness region in the East U.S.} in the fall would not be the worst thing in the world.  The park is 6 million acres, so there is no shortage of scenic opportunities.  If you time it right, you can hit the Flaming Leaves Festival in Whiteface Mountain.
  6. The Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, TN.  So, I have to admit, on our St. Jude or Bust trip two summers ago, I had a change to see the foliage in the Smokey Mountains when is was green.  Even with just shades of green, it was spectacular.  I can only imagine what it would look like in the fall.  If you need a little break from the car, Cades Cove is a national park that offers hiking, tours of 19th century homesteads and horseback riding–all while your enveloped in the fall colors.
  7. Gunnison to Crested Butte, Colorado.  The East coast can’t get all of the fall road trip love.  This trip boasts the largest aspen groves in the country.  Your trip will end at Black Canyon National Park in Gunnison.  The canyons alone would be worth the trip.
  8. Ricketts Glen State Park, Northeast Pennsylvania.  If you are willing to travel about 3 miles on foot, the park boasts 22 waterfalls.  Most of the trees are over 200 years old, so the trees will be something to write home about {if people actually still wrote home, that is.}
  9. Eastern Sierras, CA.  If you start at Coleville and head to Lundy Lake, then continue on to June Lane Loop and Mono Lake.  Finally head through Mammoth Lakes and end in Rock Creek Canyon.  The whole trip will offer foliage from aspens, willows and cottonwoods.  If the lakes aren’t enough, in the fall, you’ll even get to see snow capped mountain peeks.  It will be a “bouquet of color.”  If you don’t mind a bit of a detour, you can stop at Bodie.  It’s the largest preserved ghost town in the West.
  10. The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, Taos, New Mexico.  Not only will the drive loop you from Taos through Eagle Next and Angel Fire, then back to Taos again, it will also offer tons of fall foliage and wildlife {elk, black bears, eagles}.  If you want to get out and stretch your legs, plan on a stop in Elizabethtown.  It’s an old gold mining Ghost Town.

Have any of YOU taken this trips?  Is it worth putting them on my bucket list?

~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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