Epic Summer Score: Eagle Trading Company Cookbook Store

This is a guest post written by my buddy Heather from Massachusetts. She typically posts about her garden chores over on the east coast, but she’s changing things up a bit today!

book store 1I don’t know about you but I am the collector of projects. Seriously, if I not in the middle of three, I’m thinking about four others and collecting ideas for my next twelve. It may be time for an intervention. :)

I came to this epiphany while peering down the camera roll album on my phone. Apparently I take photos of EVERYTHING.

During the summer I’m hyper-focused and my favorite “project” is to head out with my daughter with ABSOLUTELY NO PLAN WHAT-SO-EVER. Just fill up the car with gas, have a block of time, and follow the New England roads wherever they lead. Getting totally lost is a requirement. The boys are not a fan of this particular adventure technique and typically bow out with a graceful “yeah, no thanks”.

I was generally looking to pick up some interesting cookbooks and my daughter wanted to find a book on drying flowers. This particular day we hit the jackpot! We began innocently enough early in the morning making a pact to stop at every garage sale and antique store we came across – this is New England and a shortage of antique stores is like saying there’s a shortage of ocean water. Ha!

book store 5We picked up one or two cookbooks at a yard sales because, let’s face it, I could use some help with cooking. And just as we began to run out of steam and were about to Google our way out of the woods towards home we came across this little gem, the Eagle Trading Cookbook store.book store3You read that right, and ENTIRE store of just cookbooks. It.was.unbelievable. And packed. And by packed, I mean single-file paths through bookshelves and towers of books. It’s said Mr. Williams, the owner has over 12,000 books in a roughly 800 sq. foot one room store.book store 4And owner Chuck Williams knew were every single book was. He’s personally handled every single book and knows where he put it. My 2015 brain wanted to know if he had a catalog system? A computer? How on earth did he know where any particular book was? If I asked him for a Cajun cookbook specializing in shrimp, or a book specializing in Jewish holiday desserts – would he know if he had it? And where exactly would it be?book store5Unbelievably, the answer is yes. The catalog is his brain. I tested him three times and three times he asked me follow-up questions then filed his way through the isles, scrolled his hand down stack after stack, and never failed to pull a few selections for me to choose from.

Mr. Williams is known for his rare, out of print, sheer volume of cookbooks and often has tour buses arrive at his door from New York who make his shop a highlighted stop on their itinerary.book store6Although Eagle Trading Company is known for it’s amazing selection of rare and out-of-print cookbooks, Mr. Williams graciously answered my multitude of questions, chatted with me about my cooking skills and goals and patiently helped me pick out a few selections. I really enjoyed meeting him.

book store 8As if fate was leading us on our adventure, my daughter found quite possibly the only non-cookbook in the store – a book about drying and pressing flowers just as she had been hunting for all day!

Eagle Trading Company is located at 4 Elm St., Unit 1, in Assonet MA about 10 minutes outside Fall River, MA. If you’re planning a New England tour, make sure to visit Mr. Williams and the Eagle Trading Company. Mr. William’s store has different summer and winter hours so make sure to call (508) 644-9880 for a good time to visit.

~Heather

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My Favorite Tips for Booking Cheap Flights

booking cheap flights

It’s no secret that I live to travel.  I am a homebody, for about 3 months at a time, and then the itch sets in, and I gotta get out and see some other part of the world.  Luckily for me, the HH has always been content to send me on my merry way while he and Monkey Boy stay at home, eat Dorritos and play video games {he doesn’t have the same itch}.

notre dame paris

The only real caveat to my travelling has been to find good deals so that I don’t break the bank.  Saving money here and there at home gives me extra cash to spend on travelling, but still, I try to make that money stretch as far as possible.  Flights and hotel rooms are usually the biggest portion of my travel expenses, so over the years, I’ve honed my booking skills to make sure I get the best deal on my airline tickets.  Because sharing is rad, I thought I’d pass on those tips to you.

boston waterfront

  1. Choose to fly out and back home on a Tuesday or Wednesday.  They are notoriously cheaper days to fly.  Sure, you get some business travel, but for the most part, the masses travel over weekends…probably due to the whole less time taken off work thing.
  2. Prices tend to go down in the middle of the month.  I never really got this phenomenon until I read somewhere that it’s because people get paid at the beginning and end of the month—which is when the usually decide that they have money to travel—making the costs a bit higher.London Tardis Dr Who Blue Police Box
  3. If you aren’t picky about your schedule and are an incredibly fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of person {literally and figuratively}, you can score some pretty awesome deals a day or two before traveling.  The airline is looking to fill flights, and if you’re willing to be that body, it’s a match made in heaven.  In the interest of fair-warning, though, this one can backfire on you.  Occasionally, there are no open seats and you’re left paying a premium.
  4. Call the airline directly.  Occasionally talking to an actual human being can get you pretty darn good deals.LL Bean Flagship Store Giant Boot Freeport Maine
  5. Sign up for deal alerts on the major travel websites.  This one comes in handy if you know you want to go on vacation about a year out.  It allows you to see the fluctuations in prices, and then jump on a deal when it comes your way.
  6. Consider traveling on a couple different airlines.  This is a pain in the butt if you want to check-in baggage, but if you are just doing your carry-on, you can take advantage of each airlines best deal.  So, maybe you fly from Seattle to Milwaukee on Delta, and then jump over to United on the final leg to your destination.travel tips
  7. Consider a credit card that gives you travel points.  If you aren’t opposed to charging ALL of your expenses each month and then paying it OFF each month, points add up super fast–leading to significant savings on travel.  I figure, it you were already going to spend the money on gas and groceries, you might as well get some perks from it.

How do YOU score great deals on your airline tickets?

~Mavis

 

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Getting the Most Out of the Free Breakfast Offered at Your Hotel

Getting the Most Out of the Free Breakfast Offered at Your Hotel

The Girl and I are traveling through New England this week, and one of the things I always look for when booking a budget hotel is free WiFi and a free breakfast.

I always bring my laptop with me when we vacation, one, so I can stay connected to you peeps, and two, after a long day of sightseeing, The Girl and I love to chill out in front of the laptop with an Amazon Prime movie or episode.

hotel breakfast

Free breakfast is also seriously the best way to cut down eating expenses while traveling.  It’s usually pretty basic, but it gets the job done.  In my continual effort to keep travel costs reasonable, I’ve learned to take advantage of the mountains of food by eating breakfast, and then grabbing a little for later.  I ALWAYS fill a to-go cup of tea before I leave.  That way, I’ll have my morning tea {or coffee, if that is your preference} with me as I stroll through the sights.  Usually, The Girl grabs a bagel or two for a mid-morning snack–she usually just wraps them in a napkin and grabs a plastic fork and a small tub of cream cheese too.

free hotel breakfast

Most breakfasts offer apples and bananas too.  My favorite is to grab a plastic knife, banana, packet of peanut butter, and a packet of honey…at night, when I’m feeling like something sweet, I usually slice the banana long ways, spread on the peanut butter, drizzle on  a little honey, and boom!  I have an instant dessert.  I figure the extra snacks save us at least $10 a day–and since I paid for the room/breakfast, I feel totally justified in taking it.

It’s the little things that really start to add unexpected expenses to your vacation budget, so stock up on freebies when you can.

Happy travels,

~ Mavis

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

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

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2015 Fee-Free National Parks Admission Days

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

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