How to Feed Your Family for $100 a Month – Week 8 of 52

paris street food

paul cafe london

You know that kangaroo pouch most of us moms have? Well usually mine only gets a workout during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but right now, when I take off my coat, it looks like I am four months pregnant with a food baby. A food baby that was formed almost entirely out of pastries and bread.

I am going to go out on a limb here and assume The Girl and I ate a little better than the HH and Monkey did this past week. Sure we left them with a batch of homemade cookies and some ready meals in the refrigerator, but that doesn’t mean they actually made them.

tea and sconesSo while we’re living on biscuits, jam and tea, I suspect they’re dining on Doritos, chimichangas and Hungry Man dinners. It’s kind of like we’re both living very different versions of food heaven this week!

hummingbird bakeryAll I have to say is it’s a good thing calories don’t count on vacation. I’ve walked my way through this city, because my metabolism does not match The Girls. So walking 10+ miles a day while I stuff my face with cupcakes seems to be a good way to combat those calories if they try to catch up with me when I land on American soil.

london groceriesOf course we didn’t live on pastries alone. We took the occasional carb break and threw in some fruit and some juice.

london groceriesBut then we found a way to incorporate a pastry into pretty much every other meal. It didn’t feel right otherwise.  When in Rome London, right?

tea cupcakeI mean can you think of a more perfect breakfast than the one you see above? And yes, that cupcake tastes just as awesome as it looks. And no, I didn’t share.

The restaurant london natural history museumBecause The Girl is leaving for college in a few short months {excuse me while I go sob into the hotel pillow}, it’s sitting around a freakin amazing meal like this and just enjoying the moment that I totally cherish. Having some of my favorite food on the planet in one of my favorite places on the planet with one of my favorite people on the planet. Pretty much sums up what life is all about.

paris street foodShe’s the very best go-with-the-flow travel companion. And, she understands why moving to London some day makes perfect sense. Just the food alone is enough.

rodin museum cafeIt’s so nice to take a break from the $100/month budget when we travel. Budgeting and being careful with my money is really important, but letting yourself splurge every now and then while on vacation is totally awesome, and so worth it. Indulgences like these are what we live for.

the orangery afternoon teaBecause I stocked the pantry and fridge before we left, I’ve technically spent $0 this week. No, all that totally awesome food above wasn’t free, I just don’t count it towards our weekly food budget because it falls into one of the challenge rules I live by:

Here are the One Hundred Dollars a Month Challenge Guidelines I’ve been living by for the last few years:

1. Money spent on vacation food does not count.  Why?  Because when we travel we use money from our “vacation fund.” Money that has been set aside specifically for vacations. :)

2. If anyone in our family receives a gift card to a restaurant  it does not count towards our out of pocket expenses.  Why? Because the gift cards were a gift.  We did not have to pay for them out of our own pockets.

3. If one of us wins a free gift card/gift certificate to a store it does not count.  Why?  Because we won it and did not have to pay for it out of our own pockets.

4. If I am able to score a free $10, $20 {etc.} store coupon from the purchase of a gift card {ie: Amazon, Home Depot, iTunes ect.} the amount I spent on a gift card does not count towards my food purchase total.  Why?  Well to me, that one is a no brainer.  If I know my husband will be buying something from the Home Depot,  why wouldn’t I purchase a gift card and earn a coupon for some free food in the process?

5. If I purchase any seeds for my garden I count the seed purchase as “food” money spent.  However, if I can re-coup the seed money via selling my extra produce to neighbors, friends or family I will deduct any earned money from my “garden seed” total {I will keep this tally separate from my food purchases}.

What do you think, do those guidelines seem pretty fair to you?

~Mavis

Total Spent This Week $0
Total Spent This Year $272.07
Total Spent This Year on Garden Seeds/Supplies $4.50

Go HERE to read more Shopping Trip Stories.

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

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 Improve Your Time Management Skills

How to Improve Your Time Management Skills

How to Improve Your Time Management SkillsI swear, there is never enough time in the day to get everything done that I wanted.  But some days, I’m in the zone, and I feel like I have it all sorted out.  I float effortlessly from one thing to another and end the day pretty satisfied.  Don’t get me wrong, that is not most days—in fact, it’s probably the rare majority.  BUT, on those rare days, I always think, “Whoa!  So that’s what they mean when they talk about time management.”  Then, I vow to employ those techniques from now until the end of eternity, which usually falls short by the next day.

In an ideal world, every day would be well-managed and without surprises, but in case you need some help pushing those days along, here are a couple of tips to help improve your time management, and maybe, just maybe give you a boost of sanity:

  1. Make a to-do list.  Yes, it seems dorky, but there is something oddly satisfying about crossing off items on the list.  As an added bonus, it keeps a running tally of everything that needs to get done, so you can pair them accordingly {i.e. pick up dry cleaning, grocery store, etc.}
  2. Forget multi-tasking.  Studies have shown that multi-tasking is not nearly as effective as completely focusing on one task and then moving to the next.
  3. Delegate.  If you have teenagers, send them on some of your errands.  Have little ones help with little tasks that will otherwise free you up to cross something else off of your to-do list.
  4. Avoid getting burned out.  Believe it or not, it is okay to have downtime built into your day.  We are a go-go society, but our brains require a little quiet and stillness every so often to reboot.
  5. Prioritize.  This seems like a no-brainer, but I totally fail on this one from time to time.  I’ll go to do one thing, get distracted and complete something that absolutely didn’t need to be done, while something more pressing hangs in the balance.  It’s the curse of being a mom, or at least that the story I tell myself.
  6. Be realistic.  If your daily to-do list requires a back brace for you to pick it up, it’s time to have a heart to heart with yourself.  Take some things off of your plate.  You’ll be happier, and the people relying on you will be happy.  Nancy Reagan wants you to “just say no.”
  7. Power through procrastination.  Confession time:  I always procrastinate about unloading the dishwasher.  I don’t know why, because once I decided to time how long it takes me.  Less than 3 minutes.  BUT, I’ll still piddle around the house trying to avoid it—essentially avoiding 3 minutes, and I waste precious time on procrastinating too.  Lame-o.  If I would just power through, it would be done, and I could move onto more pressing items on my daily to-do list.
  8. Adopt a rule of two.  If a task pops up out of nowhere and it takes less than two minutes, handle it then and there.  That way, you won’t have it hanging over your head.  For example, maybe while you are checking emails, you have a couple you need to respond to.  If you can respond in less than two minutes, just get it done.
  9. Figure out HOW you typically spend your time.  Keep track of how you spend your time {including time you waste} for a week.  Try keeping track in 15 minute intervals.  It will show you your pitfalls and weaknesses.  It will also help you find out where you spend most of your time and decide if it reflects what you value most.
  10. Recognize external things that waste your time.  If your phone is a distraction when it shouldn’t be, try to get in the habit of turning it off or putting it in another room when you need to be doing something else.  If television causes distractions, try putting strict rules on when you can watch it.

What do you do to make the most of your time?

~Mavis

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

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 Grow Peas {Start to Finish}

sugar snap peas

sugar snap pea seed packet

Right before we left for our trip The Girl and I planted our peas. Normally we plant our peas on St. Patrick’s Day but this year we thought we’d try to get a jump start on the growing season and plant them a little early.

garden tips soak peas

This year we planted sugar snap peas, snow peas and green arrow peas.  Sugar snap peas are plump and crunchy and are great for snacking and in stir fry, while snow peas are flat and typically harvested before the pea gets very large.  Green Arrow pea pods are not edible but the peas are perfect for canning and freezing.

sugar snap pea seeds

Where to Plant Peas:  Peas are a cool weather crop.  They need full sun in early spring.  Sugar Snap and Snow peas need a trellis or pole to climb and typically get anywhere from 3-6′ tall {depending on the variety}, so keep that in mind when you choose a location.  Green arrow peas typically do not need to be trellised because they only grow about 2′ tall. They are best grown in raised or garden beds.

sugar snap peas

Planting Seeds:  Plant seeds 1″ deep {every 2″ if you are sowing directly outside}.  You will not need to thin them.

how to gorw sugar snap peas

Growing Tips:   Peas like rich soil with good drainage.  They do not do well in the heat, so plan them as an late spring/early summer harvest.  Provide them with a trellis or pole to climb.

When to pick sugar snap peas

How to Harvest:  To harvest, cut peas off at the top of the pea {hold the other side of the vine so as not to damage it during harvest}.  Do not let them get overripe or they take on a starchy flavor and stop producing.

regional planting guides

Are you ready to start your garden but you’re not sure when you should plant your seeds or set out your transplants? Head on over HERE and you’ll be taken to a handy dandy chart that is broken down into what vegetables should be planted {or transplanted} each month in your area.

Anyone can do this. Dirt + Seeds+ Water = Food!

~Mavis

Here are a few of my Favorite Pea recipes:

Ranch Pasta Salad with Broccoli, Spinach and Green PeasRanch Pasta Salad with Broccoli, Spinach, and Green Peas

easy summer recipes orzo saladOrzo Salad with Fresh Peas, Carrots, and Pine Nuts

Fresh Pea Salad with Bacon and Chives

Fresh Pea Salad with Bacon and Chives

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

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 Granola Recipes

how-to-make-granola-recipe

granola recipesI make granola at least once a week. I love the stuff because I can throw a little of whatever I have on hand into it and it makes the best snack for my kids {oh who am I kidding, I steal their snacks all the time when they’re this good!}. Granola is awesome too because it’s fast, simple and I can pronounce all of the ingredients. Can’t say that about many of the boxed junkity junk you’ll find down the “snack” aisle at the grocery store.

I love knowing what I’m fueling my kids with, and they love it when it tastes amazing. Granola does double duty in that department. Oh and did I mention it’s delicious? Cause it totally is! Here are my favorite granola recipes:

how-to-make-granola-recipe
Granola w/ Blueberries, Cranberries and Ginger

how-to-make-strawberry-almond-granolaStrawberry Almond Granola092Apricot Cranberry Granola

Homemade-Granola-Bars1Homemade Granola Bars

Grain-Free-GranolaGrain Free Granola

Honey-and-Almond-Granola-RecipeHoney and Almond Granola

What are your favorite kinds of granola? Do you have a secret recipe you want to share with the rest of us granola lovers?

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

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.

Free Kindle Books, Cottage Flowers, Coupons, $10 Bra’s, Yoga Deals, Zaycon Bacon and Sausage

free kindle books

sugar cane

Yesterday we woke up super early and took the Eurostar from London to Paris. After dropping off our bags at the hotel we walked over to the Eiffel Tower and then to an outdoor market on Rue Cler for something to eat. Paris, even with the crowds, is pretty amazing. 

I’ll post some pictures from our trip a little alter today but for now, here are a few deals I spotted this morning.

Mavis

Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day – Yamaha YAS-101 7.1-Channel Soundbar

free kindle books

Available Kindle Books I think are cool…

The prices on Kindle Books can change quickly, so grab them while you can.

cottage flowersZulily has a great deal on an assortment of Cottage Flowers including a bunch of perennials today in their Cottage Farms Direct Sale.

maidenform bra sale coupons

Now is the time to stock up on bras! Maidenform is having a huge $10 bra sale through 2/24/14.

columbia jacketREI Outlet Deal of the Day – Woman’s Columbia Many Paths Jacket available in purple, grey and black

JCPENNY portrait dealsAmazon Local has JCPenney Portrait Packages starting at $19!

zaycon bacon

Zaycon Bacon & Sausage Event

 Zaycon Foods is offering Hickory Smoked Bacon at $3.49 a pound and pork sausage links for $2.79 a pound.  I was able to split a case of this yummy bacon with my neighbor Girly Girl last year and we both really liked it.  Go HERE to find out if this deal is available in your area.

quilted northern double rollsRunning low on TP? Print a coupon for $1.00 off any one Quilted Northern 12 Double Roll.

yarn sale

Craftsy is having a big yard sale –Designer yarn is on sale up to 80% off and designer fabric is up to 65% off.

10 pack camisGroupon has a 10-Pack Set of Juniors’ Layering Camis for $29.99 shipped. I bought this deal the last time it came around for and these cami’s are great!!

yoga journal magazineDiscount Mags is offering a 1 year subscription to Yoga Journal for only $4.99 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout. This deal will expire tonight 2/2314 at midnight EST so be sure and grab your subscription before then.

yoga mats and accessories

Deals on Yoga Mats and accessories:

spinach power smoothie recipe

Looking for something to help you jumpstart your day? Try my Spinach Power Smoothie Recipe. Get the recipe HERE or Pin it for Later.

pampers wipes couponPrint a coupon good for $1.00 off ONE Pampers Wipes 168ct or higher

Find More Printable Coupons

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

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.

Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew Garden

tea cupcake

kew gardensLast time we went to the Royal Botanical Gardens, I showed you tons and tons and tons of pictures, but I never really gave you the history of the place.  Shame on me.

orchids growing on tree stumpThe Kew Gardens take up about 300 acres of land in southwest London.  They are a combination of outdoor gardens and glasshouses {uh-mazing glass greenhouses}.

kew gardensThe whole of the gardens house the world’s largest collection of living plants.  They are are more than 30,000 kinds of living plants.  Be still my beating heart.  And while it has amazing gardens, at it’s heart, it is dedicated to preserving and studying all horticulture.  There’s about a million ways to experience it, from tours to classes.

kew garden orchidsThey also host events throughout the year, depending on what is in season/bloom.  It really is impressive. Right now the orchid festival is going on and it is freakin’ fantastic.

kew gardens birdgeThe first part of the gardens opened in 1759.  The collection of plants kind of grew chaotically and without much planning at first–and over the years more land was added to the overall conservatory.

kew gardens cottageThe MANY buildings, like Queen Charlotte’s Cottage and the Princess of Whales show the extensive royal influence over the development of the gardens.

tea cupcakeThe Orangery, originally designed to be a greenhouse, now functions as a cafe/restaurant.  In it’s prime, it was the largest glasshouse in England.  In true British fashion, it overlooks the perfectly landscaped grounds.  The menu changes daily and time around we enjoyed tea and cupcakes.

kew gardens gift shop

And let’s not forget about the gift shop. There is everything from Burgon and Ball enamelware, garden books and tools plus a nice selection of potted plants both inside and outside the gift shop.

Hands down Kew Gardens is one of my favorite stops in England.

How about YOU? Do you have a favorite place in the world? What is it?

~Mavis

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

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 Cleaner Roundup: 10 Homemade Cleaner Recipes

DIY-Daily-Shower-Spray

10 Homemade Cleaner Recipes

You know I love a good DIY cleaner recipe. It not only saves a ton of money, but it eliminates a bunch of crazy chemicals I’d otherwise smear, scrub or spray in my house {while all the ingredients aren’t all natural, it’s sure a step in the right direction!}. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer too, you’ll love this complete list I’ve compiled of ALL of my homemade cleaner recipes:

DIY-Daily-Shower-SprayHow to Make Your Own Daily Shower Spray
DIY-Deodorizing-Carpet-PowderHow to Make Your Own Carpet Deodorizer
DIY-Dishwasher-DetergentHow to Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent
DIY-Dishwasher-Tablets-RecipeHow to Make Your Own Dishwasher Tablets
DIY-DIY-How-to-Make-Your-Own-Laundry-DetergentHow to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
DIY-Homemade-Granite-Cleaner2How to Make Your Own Homemade Granite Cleaner
DIY-Homemade-Laundry-Detergent-TabsHow to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent Tabs
DIY-Window-and-Glass-Cleaner1How to Make Your Own Window and Glass Cleaner
fabric-softener-suppliesHow to Make Your Own Fabric Softener
Homemade-Soft-ScrubHow to Make Your Own Soft Scrub

Did I miss any? Are there any tried and true DIY cleaner recipes you’d like to to share?

Making your own stuff is awesome!

~Mavis

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

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.

One Hundred Dollars a Month – Mavis’ Weekly Highlights 2/22/14

mavis butterfield instagram

mavis butterfield instagram Mavis Butterfield on Instagram – Follow me as I share a picture a day in 2014.

A Few of My Favorite Things – February Giveaway

Giveaways

the martha stewart cookbook

Books, Books, and More Books from Amazon.com

The Best Plants for a Cottage Garden

Garden Updates and Chickens Too!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread Squares

Recipes

pottery bird house mornings with mavis

Mornings with Mavis 

Making the Most of Your Costco Membership

Tips and Tricks

Old Sturbridge Village New England Living History Museum

Weekly Shopping Trips and Stories

Videos

Peace Out Girl Scouts, have a great weekend!

Mavis

Don’t forget, you can stay up to date with the latest news by following One Hundred Dollars a Month on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ as well.

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

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.