Friday Night at the Movies – The Weight of a Nation “Nashville Takes Action”

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A big thanks to reader Lisa who recommenced The Weight of the Nation, “Nashville Takes Action:  A City Battles Obesity.  It is a several part series done by HBO.  This episode is about what the city is doing to battle the obesity crisis.  It highlights people and city programs that are striving to combat the epidemic.  I don’t know about you, but I love these documentaries.  I always feel so motivated to make little changes in my own family’s eating and lifestyle–in the name of good health.

I found the full episode, so you can watch it right here for FREE.  {Yay!} or Amazon Prime Members can watch The Weight of the Nation, “Nashville Takes Action:  A City Battles Obesity”  for free HERE.

the weight of a nation

Let me know what you think if you decide to watch it–or if you have already seen it.  Did you love it? Hate it? Can’t wait to watch it over and over?

Looking for more movies?

Check out the full list of my Friday Night at the Movies Selections or click on over & look at all the movies on Amazon Instant Video. There are a ton of videos to choose from that will cost you absolutely nothing {nada, zilch, free-o} with Amazon Prime; like thousands of regular movies & TV shows & hundreds of documentaries {Wahoo!}. Get all the details HERE!

Peace out Girl Scouts & have yourself a great weekend,

~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 Harvest and Store Garlic

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How to Harvest and Store Garlic

We recently harvested our garlic and knowing when to harvest garlic can sometimes be a wee bit tricky, so I thought I ‘d share what I’ve learned over the years.

It depends on what type you grow {hardneck or softneck}, and unfortunately, you kind of have to go by how it looks.  Hardneck varieties, which is what we typically grow here in the northwest {because they are more tolerant of the winters}, are usually ready somewhere between early July through August.

How to Harvest and Store Garlic

I typically harvest mine when the bottom 5 leaves or so have turned brown, and the top ones are still green.

elephant garlic bulb

To harvest garlic, carefully dig around the bulb with a small garden shovel.  Even though it’s super tempting, don’t pull garlic out like a weed.  The bulb is fragile, and needs all its pieces intact to cure properly for storage.  Once you have dug around the bulb, carefully lift it out of the dirt and brush off the excess dirt.

braided garlic

To cure garlic, hang it to dry in a cool dark place.  A garage or tool shed works great.  Don’t remove the stalk or the roots when curing.  If you want to, about a week into the drying process, you can braid the stalks together for storage.  It takes about two weeks total to dry completely.

After you have cured your garlic, you can prep it for storage.  If you didn’t braid it, you can cut off the roots and stalks now.    Garlic stores best in a cool dark place {but not the refrigerator—it’s the optimal temperature for causing garlic to get those little green shoots}.  I recommend storing it in the pantry {or a basement, if there’s no humidity} in a brown paper bag with holes punched into it for circulation.

Softneck varieties store longer than hardneck.  Either way, you  should be able to get your garlic to store fairly well for 6 months or longer.

Did you grow garlic this year? Can you taste the homegrown difference?

~Mavis

Looking for more information in growing, cultivating and enjoying garlic?  Check out the book The Complete Book of Garlic By Ted Jordan Meredith.  Amazon currently has it in stock and ready to ship.

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.

Travel Tips – How to Plan a Family Vacation on a Budget

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How to Plan a Family Vacation on a Budget

Is travel high on your priority list?  For me, it totally is.  It’s where I’ve made some of my best memories with my family, BUT it can be tricky budgeting for the expense of it–especially in the summer, when all of the rates skyrocket.

The HH and I always set a travel budget before we go anywhere.  It helps us make sure we don’t come home and add up all the receipts only to find we may need to start living in a cardboard box.  We also try to take advantage of credit card points, etc.  Planning the big stuff BEFORE we head out, helps us make sure our budget is realistic.  There’s tons of ways to cut corners to make a vacation fit within your budget, though.  Here’s a few to keep in mind if you are planning a family vacation:

  1. Where to lay your head?  The obvious choice is a hotel, and maybe, just maybe, you can score yourself a screamin’ deal.  More than likely, though, you are going to be paying at least $100 a night, and bunking up in super close quarters.  Try renting a house for the week.  A friend of mine just scored a 4 bedroom house WITH A POOL within 5 miles of Disneyworld for $700 for the week.  She split it with another family, so her family’s cut was a $350.  Not too bad, if you ask me.  Another option, if you are headed to a college town, is to check out local dorm prices.  Seriously, most colleges will allow you to rent their empty rooms for pennies.  It’s a great experience if you have teenagers too–they can get a taste of dorm life.  
  2. Food.  Food and shelter will be the bulk of your costs.  If your digs have a kitchen, you can save tons right off the bat.  If not, there’s still ways to save.  Try the deli counter at a grocery store for lunch.  You can usually get a chicken and fries or a premade sandwich for waaaay cheaper than a restaurant–plus you don’t have to tip.   For dinner, order a pizza and pick it up–you can bring it back to your room and save the cost of a sit-down restaurant.  Also, research kids eat free nights before you get to your destination.  That $5.00 per kid adds up quick, it’s much cheaper when you only have to pay for you and the hubby.
  3. Entertainment.  The cost of having something to do once you get there can also add up.  Do some research.  Every city has free activities.  Hit the beach instead of an aquarium {even with parking and snorkel masks, you will still be in less than your typical aquarium}.  Look for parks with hiking paths or wildlife refuges instead of zoos.  Try the local Costco for discount passes for local attractions.
  4. Transportation.  Rental cars are expensive.  There are definitely ways to save on them, but if you are looking for deep savings you may have to consider other options. Cities with public transit systems can be a great way to save money.  {They are not ideal, however, if you have little ones.}
  5. Pack light.  If you fly, packing light can save a bundle on baggage fees when you fly.  Pack enough that you can carry your item on.  It is a hassle, but the savings are totally worth it.
  6. Plan ahead.  Sign up for facebook alerts, etc. for attractions and locations.  That way, if there is a special, you will be the first to know.  You will also be able to track deals–making timing your trip a little easier.
  7. Communicate.  Tell the kiddos your daily budget during travel {unless they are toddlers, in which case, they will not care} let them know exactly what to expect.  Let them know which places they will be able to pick out a souvenir and which places they will won’t.  Better yet, have them set their own budget with their own money for their souvenirs.  Either way, telling them up front helps to avoid impulse purchases that you might make during vacation euphoria.

How do you save money so you can stick to a budget on vacation?

~Mavis
america's cheapest family

America’s Cheapest Family has a whole travel section with lots of AWESOME and unique tips on saving money.  {You’ll love all of the other money saving tips too!}

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.

Protecting the Garden from your Dog – Ha Ha Ha

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puggle puppies mavis butterfiled

Last night I went out to the garden to pick a cabbage and Lucy the puggle dog decided to help.

puggle puppies cabbage

Do puggles like cabbage? Yes, yes they do.

puggle puppies

Not only will puggles eat cabbages, but they’ll also eat blueberries, peanut butter, carrots, mice and dried up chipmunks. They also like to dig up the remains of pet chickens and chew on their bones on the back lawn too. To say puggle puppies are adventurous eaters, would be an understatement.

garden beds bush beans

Lucy is doing a pretty good job of staying out of the garden beds though, I think the threat of getting squirted with the garden hose has been a great deterrent. With the exception of the raspberries dangling from their canes, she’s becoming quite the little garden companion.

Do you see those bush beans? Well HELLO! I can’t wait to pick those suckers!

companion planting

And check out this squash plant.  I can’t remember if I planted a pumpkin here or an acorn squash, but it’s thriving alongside the strawberries and min that’s for sure.

rainbow swiss chard

And the Swiss chard along the fence… The leaves are HUGE.  I’d say it’s time to pick a basket of the stuff for the chickens.

how to grow artichokes

The artichokes are starting to pop up all over the place too. I’m not sure if I want to pick them or just watch them bloom. It’s a hard choice because artichoke flowers are beautiful.

green roma tomato

And last but not least, the Roma tomatoes. We’ve harvested a few Sun Gold tomatoes so far, but I’m really, really looking forward to harvesting these beauties and turning them into sauce.

Keep Calm and Garden On… that’s what I say.

Have a great Friday,

♥ Mavis & Lucy

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.

Mornings with Mavis – FREE Red Mango Voucher, Pie Plates, Trench Coats, FoodSaver Sealer, Vegetarian Times

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leave the gun, take the cannolis

 

Happy Friday everyone! The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird and I are getting excited about tomorrows Chicken Coop and Urban Farm Tours. WahooO! We are looking forward to stopping at as many coops as possible. If there is one thing we love, it’s chickens!

Last year we ended up coming home with a free one! :)

I hope you have a great weekend!

Mavis
Free Voucher for Two-for-One 16-Ounce SmoothiesToday is your last day to snag your Free Voucher for Two-for-One 16-Ounce Smoothies from Amazon Local. {Seattle}

Be sure and Sign up HERE so you’ll know what the daily deal is each day.

fiesta red pie plate

Thinking about baking a fruit pie this weekend?

Amazon currently has my favorite Fiesta 10-1/4-Inch Deep Dish Pie Bakers on sale for  $16.99. There are several colors to choose from and I love the durability!

Le-Creuset-pie-birds

Amazon has Le Creuset pie birds on sale for $4.95 each and they have several colors available.

girls trench coats

Zulily has some adorable girls trench coats available this morning in their Dollhouse sale. These would be perfect for this fall and winter.

Already a Zulily Member? Go HERE to Get This Deal

FoodSaver V3240 Vertical Vacuum Sealer, White

Looking for a way to preserve summers bounty? Amazon currently has the FoodSaver Vertical Vacuum Sealer on sale for $79.99 shipped.

herb scissors

Have you ever tried Herb Scissors before?  They’re pretty awesome.  I own a pair and use them all the time.  Amazon has these herb scissors on sale right now for $9.95.

magazine deals

Discount Mags has some great deals today, here are my favorites:

Vegetarian Times Magazine is only $5.50 a year with code MAVIS at checkout
Yoga Journal Magazine is only $4.99 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout
Prevention Magazine is only $4.99 a year when you use code MAVIS at check out

These deals will expire tonight 7/12/13 at Midnight EST

sheet sets

Groupon has a hot deal on Hotel New York microfiber embossed dobby stripe sheet sets

  • $17.99 for Twin ($69.99 list price)
  • $24.99 for Full ($79.99 list price)
  • $26.99 for Queen ($89.99 list price)
  • $27.99 for King ($99.99 list price)

Already Have a Groupon Account? Go HERE to get this Deal.

New to Groupon? Join Groupon Here!

thredUP has a great deal on children’s gently used clothing going on right now. Use code SMART!0 at check out and save $10 off any $20 order! Save up to 80% on your favorite name brands and turn outgrown clothes into cash! threadUP not only offer kids’ clothes, but like new women’s clothing too!

This offer runs through Friday July 19th 2013 at 11:59 PST and is valid for new customers only.

Are your kids telling your they are bored? Have you ever made duck tape wallets before? It will keep them busy for hours. Trust me!!

Here are a few Duck brand Duct tape deals I spotted on Amazon.com

Duck Brand 10-Yard Printed Duct Tape, Zig-Zag Zebra, Black/White $3.37
Duck Brand 10-Yard Printed Duct Tape, Cosmic Tie-Dye, Orange/Pink $3.37
Duck Brand 20-Yard Colored Duct Tape, Grape (Purple) $4.60

Go HERE to see more Duck Brand Duct Tape Colors and Patterns

freezer pop molds Popsicle

Thinking about making the kiddos some healthy freezer pops this summer? Here are a few freezer pop molds to get you started:

Tovolo Green Groovy Ice Pop Molds, Set of 6 $8.29
Tovolo Blue Rocket Pops, Set of 6 $12.99
Tovolo Ice Cream Pop Molds, Set of 4 $9.95
Orka A47221 Ice Pop Molds, White Base $10.24

Popsicle freezer pops recipes

Here are a few recipe books to go along with the molds:

Perfect Pops: The 50 Best Classic & Cool Treats
Ice Pops: Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats
Popsicles and Other Fruity Frozen Treats
Pops!: Icy Treats for Everyone {I have this one and really like it!}

Find More Printable Coupons

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.

Fresh Pea Salad with Bacon and Chives

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Fresh Pea Salad with Bacon and Chives

Last night we harvested  about a gallon of shelling peas. So this morning I went ahead and made a fresh pea salad with bacon and chives for tonight’s dinner. Not only do I love the daily bounty my garden provides during the summer months, but having a constant supply of fresh ingredients to work with makes dinner time a snap.

Here is my recipe for Fresh Pea Salad with Bacon and Chives. I hope you like it as much as we do.

shelled peas

Ingredients

3 cup fresh peas, shelled
5 strips bacon, cooked, chopped
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, cubed
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
salt and pepper to taste.

Directions

After shelling your peas, blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes.  Place peas in ice cold water to cool.  Rinse. Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl and mix together. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

salad for dinner

Looking for more great salad recipes? Check out the book Salad for Dinner. It’s packed with all sorts of goodness.

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 You Know the Answer? Help Mavis Answer Readers Questions

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mavis butterfiled

I love hearing from you and one of my favorite things about this blog is all the comments people leave and the sense of community we have.

I spotted a few comments on Facebook recently that I just don’t have the answers for and I was hoping you could help out. After all I am just a backyard gardener and it still amazes me on a daily basis that so much food can come from such a tiny seed. How it all transpires is really a miracle if you ask me.

If you know the answer or have a suggestion to the questions below, please leave a comment so we can all help each other have a rock star garden.

organic fruits

Monica wrote:

Quick question. Do I need To Be Concerned About The Salt Content Of Peanut Shells Boiled In Brine? Should I Put Them In My Compost Pile Or Not? Thanks!

Daye wrote:

I live in northern MI and have lots of space for a garden, but my soil is mostly sand and our season is very short. How can I create a great space to grow for very little money? And what kind of edibles can survive our cold nights?

Colleen wrote:

Any idea of how to rid the pesky little black and yellow inch worms. I hand clear my tomatoes plants daily but have been given charge of my neighbors while they’re out of town. I went over to water and found the plants loaded with their eggs and a few adults happily munching on the fruit. I want to do it naturally and for low cost. Please help if you can.

Desiree wrote:

How do you deal with burrowing/digging critters?

Carri wrote:

I am having issues with beetles on my cucumbers. The marigold extract and orange oil is not working. Do you know of another organic I can use to get rid of them? I’ve been killing as many as I can find each day by just squishing them but every day there are more! I’m ready to use the pesticide powder if I can’t find something quick because they have already killed half of the blooms.

Charley wrote:

Serious question… I have moved, and now instead of giant spiders, I have these wee ones knitting leaves of plants together.. I want to stay organic, but some killing, shoo-ing, de-spidering has to be done. They’ve hit gulmohar, pomegranate, but especially love the basil. They haven’t hit the tomatoes or anything else so far. Ain’t nobody got time for spiders in they Sunday gravy! Help!

Thanks for your help everyone, I appreciate 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 to Freeze Peppers

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how to freeze peppers

I decided to freeze some of the peppers this morning that I got from Mr. Produce Guy this week.  I like to freeze them both sliced and diced {mostly because slicing and dicing rhymes, but also for the convenience, ha.}.  They are awesome to have on hand in the winter, when you only need a bit for a recipe.  I like having the option of pulling out only what I need for stir-fries, soups, and omelets.

how to freeze peppers

Here’s the 411 on how to freeze them:

You’ll need:

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Pot {for blanching}
  • A bowl of ice water
  • freezer bags
  • cookie sheet

Directions:

  1. Start a pot of boiling water for blanching*
  2. Wash and dry your peppers.
  3. Slice them in half and de-seed them completely.
  4. Now cut them however you prefer {sliced, diced, etc.}.
  5. Place them in a pot of boiling water{2 minutes for slices, 1 minute for diced} and then plunge them into the ice water bath.
  6. Lay them out flat on a cookie sheet and freeze them.
  7. Transfer frozen peppers to labeled and dated freezer bags.  {They are best when used within 6 months, but they’ll keep longer.}

how to freeze peppers

*If you are not going to cook the peppers, you can skip the blanching step, because they will lose their crispiness during blanching.  I cook with mine, so I blanched them to preserve their color.

Want to know how to freeze just about anything?  Check out my handy dandy how-to chart HERE.

The Complete Guide to Food Preservation

The Complete Guide to Food Preservation

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.

Gift Giving Etiquette – What Do You Think?

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Gift Giving Etiquette

I came across an article the other day, and I can’t stop thinking about it.  In a nutshell, this guy goes to a friend’s wedding.  As a gift, he and his girlfriend get a basket and fill it with different food goodies:  pesto, pastas, salsa, olive oil, and sweet goodies like butterscotch sauce and marshmallow fluff.  They attached a note that said:  “Life is delicious…Enjoy.”

Okay, so here’s where it gets interesting:  A bit later the guy gets a text from the bride that asks for a receipt because she’s gluten intolerant.  The guy responds gracefully to the text {see the article for the exact response}.  Then, a little while later, he gets a text from the other bride {it was a same sex wedding} that basically tells him he is a clueless and cheap for not giving them an envelope of money for a gift AND that the brides paid $100 per plate, so his gift didn’t even cover the cost of him attending the wedding.  {WHAT?!!}

The whole interaction ended up getting published in a Canadian newspaper, with the permission of both parties.  Comments started rolling in, some defending the man and his gift and others defending the brides.  Is it just me, or is this CRAZY?  When did we become a culture that gets to set perimeters on what kind of gift and what monetary value it should have?  Plus, what world do they live in that they think the guests should cover the cost of their attendance at the wedding with gifts?

The story has been sitting in the back of my mind for days, and I am curious what YOU think.  Pop over, read the article, and seriously let me know your opinion.  {I think the brides were waaaaay out of line, if it wasn’t obvious already.  Ha.}

~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.

Growing Greenhouse Tomatoes and Cucumbers in the Pacific Northwest

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garden and greenhouse

Last night after watering vegetables in the greenhouse I snapped a few photos to share.

meyer lemon tree buds

Lemon, our Meyer Lemon Tree we planted in January is doing AWESOME! Take a look at all those baby lemons! I’m taking Erin’s advise and letting Mother Nature decide how many lemons we should grow rather than picking half of the tiny lemons off.
fresh basil

The basil we planted in the gutters is doing great! I’ll have to transplant some of it to a larger container soon.

cucumber vine

The cucumbers we started in gutters are also coming along. Pretty soon I’ll need to string the vines up to the ceiling of the glass greenhouse.

green cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes. Check.

slug eating tomato

Beefsteak tomatoes? Hmm.. Looks like Mr. Slug has claimed this one.

mavis butterfield tomatoes

But no worries, there are plenty more.

Take a look at our two green zebra tomato plants we have growing.

Wahooooooooo! Life is good.

How are YOUR tomatoes doing this year? Have you harvested any yet? Are you having any pest control problems?

Mavis wants to know. :)

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