Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Plot Pictures 3/22/15

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moving plants around

The weather here in Western Washington was pretty wonky this week. Raining one day, sunshine the next. Luckily, I was still able to cram a few gardening projects into my already busy week {remodeling the bathrooms, planning my east coast garden, hiding from the HOA}.

pink flamingo in planter

One of those projects was cleaning up the side patio. I removed the galvanized steel tub {more where that will be going later} extra terra cotta flower pots and set a bunch of pots and planters next to the side door.

I have this horrible need for things to match and line up right. So when I decided to put my set of black planters next to the door I suddenly realized something was off. Like, as in, I think I might need to purchase another lemon tree. It’s a balance thing. But lemon trees are EXPENSIVE!!! Couldn’t I just plant some rainbow Swiss chard in the other black planter? Or would that be weird.

I need another lemon tree, right?
car full of plants

I stopped by the Home Depot earlier this week {of course I did!!!} and picked up 31 shrubs for the hedge I got approved to plant back in January.
planting a hedge

The hedge turned out lovely. :)  sugar snap pea shoots

My sugar snap peas… they’re up! Maybe in another week or two they’ll be spitting out tendrils and clinging onto the wire trellis. hardening off plants

I’ve also been hardening off lettuce and Swiss chard seedlings this past week as well. seedlings under grow lights

A few hours outside, then back under the grow lights. I suspect I’ll be transplanting a bunch of plants to my small veggie plot next week if all goes well. kitchen garden

My little kitchen garden. So far I’ve planted strawberries, radishes, cabbage, lettuce and onion sets. slug eating cabbage plant

The slugs had a field day with 3 of my cabbage plants. I’m not worried though, a bit of Sluggo should do the trick.

bucket of bulbs

And I finally figured out which one of my neighbors dropped off that mysterious bucket of bulbs a few days ago. flower bulbs

My dear, sweet 85 year old neighbor lady who lives behind us. After thanking her I asked her what kind of bulbs they were. She couldn’t remember the name of them but said they produce “nice and tall red and orange flowers… like a lily.” Okay then, I guess will just have to plant them and see. :)
spring flower bulbs

Ahh Spring. It’s finally here. Aren’t you glad? I am.

~Mavis

botanical interests seed packets

This years garden is being sponsored by the awesome folks at Botanical Interests Seed Company. You can check out their website HERE, order their new 2015 Garden Seed Catalogor see the seeds I’ll be growing in my garden this year HERE

Up for a tour? Read about our behind the scenes tour of Botanical Interests Seed Company.

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 $20/$20 Challenge: Heather’s Must See College Dorm Indian Food Lover’s Dream Pantry

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Heather pantry pictures 17I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this week’s submission to the $20/$20 Challenge. Not only will Heather’s use of the limited storage space in a college dorm impress you, but the amazing foods and unique-to-me spices will blow you away.  I mean, I can’t stop looking at her pretty pantry shelves! Here’s her story:

Hi Mavis!

I’m excited to participate in your $20/$20 Challenge!  What a great idea and of course I love reading your blog!

My name is Heather and we moved to Texas about one-and-a-half years ago… from Washington State. So here’s our story:

I am originally from Texas/Oklahoma and my husband is originally from India.  We moved to Texas to get closer to family, and my husband took a job at a Bible College, where he works as an Old Testament professor and as a director of a residence hall.  One requirement of his job as the director of the residence hall is that we LIVE in the dorm – yes you heard that right, we live in a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment IN a dorm of over 200 college students with our 5 year old daughter and 20 month old son!  Needless to say we never run short of babysitters ;-)  Though we DO run short of storage space!  A perk of his job is that we can eat in the campus cafeteria as much as we want…while that comes in handy if I’m too busy or too tired to cook, we don’t take advantage of that quite as much as you might expect.  My husband says that during our 8 year stint in the Pacific Northwest I became a bit “crunchy” and I really like to prepare most of our food from scratch – plus they don’t serve a whole lot of Indian food at the “caf!”  So the idea of eating all the processed food that they serve in the cafeteria isn’t as appealing as it once would have been – especially when I imagine feeding my growing children that food {and our son is allergic to eggs – which is a whole other complication!}.

So, since we are tight on space, I have been creative with our food storage as you can see…

Heather pantry pictures 1
I LOVE my OXO containers for all my bulk foods and I keep the extras up at the top in the bins and refill as needed. You will notice lots of Indian ingredients spread throughout my kitchen too. Indian “comfort food” is Dal – or “lentil soup” served over rice. Above you can see lots of different varieties of lentils and dried beans, nuts, some whole wheat pastas and brown rice pastas. We don’t do much cereal, but on occasion the kids like puffed brown rice, 100% shredded wheat, or homemade granola. Most days they like oatmeal for breakfast – so we buy that in bulk and I keep a small container here to have it handy!
Heather pantry pictures 2
An Indian kitchen wouldn’t be complete without a huge bag of rice (or two!). We keep white Basmati and Brown Basmati on hand. I buy the 20 pound bag of white rice at Costco and the brown rice I order through Azure Standard – a food co-op which has good prices on organic bulk foods and delivers to our city once a month.Heather pantry pictures 3
This cabinet houses my Indian spices and baking supplies. I also grind my own wheat {bought from Azure Standard} and I keep that flour in the freezer. We make homemade roti (whole wheat tortillas) a couple of times per week – most Indian families in India make them fresh each day!

The stainless steel containers are called “Spice Dabbas” and that is something you will find in most Indian houses… it is a great way to keep your most used spices right at hand. Since Indian cooking calls for MANY spices, I keep the extras up at the top and pull those down as needed.
Heather pantry pictures 4
Starting at the top right and going clockwise – Sambar Masala, Garam Masala, Red {cayenne} Chili Powder, Black Mustard Seeds, Turmeric, Ground Coriander, and Cumin Seeds in the middle. I use most of these spices to make our basic Dal Recipe {except the Garam Masala}. When I make Indian food the students can usually smell it from the lobby – so I try to make extras, because invariably we will have some unexpected company hoping for leftovers! :-) Plus our son LOVES Indian food – he does not like bland food at all – the boy can down spicy dal & rice like a grown man!
Heather pantry pictures 5
The smaller spice dabba has some of my whole spices which I grind fresh as needed {in an old coffee grinder!}. I also use these spices to make homemade Masala Chai {Indian spiced milk tea}. Top right, going clockwise – Cinnamon Sticks, Green Cardamom Pods, Star Anise, Coriander Seeds, Dried Curry Leaves, Black Cardamom Pods, and in the center, Cloves.
Heather pantry pictures 6
Here are some of the {many} bulk spices found at the top of my cabinet – some of these spices came directly from India – we were there for 2 months this past summer – and some came from the Indian Grocery stores you can find here in the US.
Heather pantry pictures 7
This cabinet holds “regular” spices at the bottom, the small amount of canned food we keep on hand {mostly diced tomatoes and beans}. On the middle left shelf I have my cooking oils… I picked up the stainless steel containers in India this last trip. One holds coconut oil {from Costco} and the other holds homemade ghee {clarified butter – that I make in my slow cooker from Costco butter} Both coconut oil and ghee are traditional Indian cooking oils and are extremely healthy. I also use olive oil on occasion – especially for homemade salad dressings. The top left is our collection of Indian pickles… NOT dill pickles – Indian pickle {also known as chutney or achaar} a very spicy condiment – is an acquired taste and a little goes a long way! Our favorite is Pickled Mango and we also have Lime Pickle and Mixed Vegetable Pickle – the ones in the glass jars came from India and the one in the yellow and red bottle was purchased at a local Indian store. The top right shelf has a few favorite condiments from Trader Joes – we no longer live as close to one as did in Washington, so when I am nearby I stock up on organic ketchup, mayonnaise and hot sauce {my husband loves that stuff!}. I keep the Organic Red Pepper Soup {from Costco} on hand to make my favorite Indian Butter Chicken Masala Recipe.
Heather pantry pictures 8
So since our house has no true pantry and very little closet space – I keep our bulk foods from Azure standard under the sink in the kid’s bathroom! Left to right, Hard White {that I grind in my Blendtec Grain Mill}, Organic Rolled Oats, and Soft White Wheat.
Heather pantry pictures 9
We mostly keep the basics in our fridge… lots of fruit and some fresh veggies. Grass fed ground beef from Aldi to hold us over until our yearly beef purchase is ready. The kids love Kerrygold Cheese & Butter from Costco. Fresh ginger on the top shelf, along with homemade rotis (tortillas), leftover Indian food, and our farm fresh “raw” milk that we order each week through a local farm co-op. My husband grew up in India and his “job” as a child was to watch the milk man {who actually brought the COW door to door and milked him right there} to make sure he didn’t cheat them and add water to the milk. Fast forward to when my husband first came to North America, he couldn’t understand why people would pay full price for “watery” skim milk, nor could he understand why there are a bazillion types of milk available in a typical grocery store! Once we started getting fresh milk there was no going back. In Washington we could buy it in the stores, here we have to get it straight from the farm.
Heather pantry pictures 10
Condiments, homemade jams, my husband’s favorite varieties of hot sauce, and eggs out of the way at the bottom – since our son is allergic I have to be really careful to keep eggs separate from everything else. These eggs are store bought but when we see my parents we are able to get farm fresh eggs from a family friend, so we usually stock up – the rest of us LOVE eggs!
Heather pantry pictures 11
Our upright freezer is kept in a storage closet, since there was no place for it in our apartment. I have to walk through the dorm to get to it, but I am thankful they were able to accommodate it for us {I am also glad that it came with a lock on the door with a key which I never used or needed until now!}. I keep our large organic packages of vegetables and fruit from Costco here, along with any freezer meals I’ve made {top shelf}. I also buy sprouted wheat bread from Costco and keep extra in the freezer to pull out as needed. There is some Ezekiel English Muffins and Pitas from a local health food store. I like to keep whole chickens on hand as well {also from Costco}. We usually split a side of beef with family or friends each year, so the lower shelf holds what is left from last year’s purchase… still waiting on this year’s cow! {In case you are wondering most Indians do not eat beef – however my husband’s family does since they are Christians and not Hindus. In India, Muslims and Christians eat beef, while non-vegetarian Hindus and Christians eat pork}. There is some frozen berries at the bottom which we bought this summer locally – we miss our Washington Blueberries! The door of the freezer has more Costco Chicken, Corn, homemade freezer jam and homemade rendered lard {from our pig purchase last year!}. I don’t fry food at home too often, but if I do, I use the lard instead of refined cooking oil.
Heather pantry pictures 13
It wouldn’t be an Indian kitchen without a tea stash! Indians love their Chai {chai MEANS tea, so saying “chai tea” is somewhat redundant!}. In India we are served chai first thing in the morning and also again at “tea time.” I am totally hooked. I make homemade chai daily! Most of this tea came from India – my mother-in-law keeps us stocked up whenever she makes her yearly visits.
Heather pantry pictures 14
In India stainless steel is everywhere – and I go a little crazy in the “steel shops” when we go to India. I brought back this water filter this year – my husband was not too happy to have to pack it in our suitcases, but it makes a huge difference in the taste of our water!
Heather pantry pictures 15
A few extra “bonus” photos from our recent trip to India. The Steel shop that I can’t get enough of – it is so inexpensive there! Our kids eat off of small steel divided plates every day and drink out of the cute steel tumblers too. I forgot to mention how essential a good pressure cooker is for Indian cooking – I also brought a new stainless steel pressure cooker home this trip – it makes “dal” {lentil soup} ready in a jiffy! Did I mention how much my husband grumbled when we had to pack our suitcases to return home? He said that I brought a whole steel shop home with me :-)
Heather pantry pictures 16
This is the sweet shop and also where we buy our Indian Pickles from – they make them fresh daily. If you tell them you are taking it with you back to America, they will vacuum seal it 2-3 times to ensure it doesn’t leak out into your suitcase, believe me, you DO NOT want that to happen! Talk about an oily, pungent MESS!
Heather pantry pictures 18
This is the corner store in India, near my mother-in-law’s house, where we buy rice, lentils and other staples! Maybe you could call this her “Costco?” Although they will actually deliver her telephoned order straight to her door…now that’s what I call service!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our story & photos! I do have a blog: Indianties.com. I will get around to updating it soon with more stories and photos from our trip, hopefully :-)

Thank you for your time & consideration & for donating to the charity on our behalf!

Have a great day,

Heather

pantry-pictures-ideasAre you getting your pantries camera ready? You can participate in the $20/$20 Challenge by simply sending in pictures of your pantry. Find out more about the $20/$20 Challenge: Show Your Pantry – Fill a Pantry!

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 Mail – Lisa From Australia Impresses Again w/ Her Garden Pictures

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A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

~MavisLisa garden

I love hearing from reader, Lisa from Tasmania, Australia {She also introduced us to her adorable Aunt Ruby!}. She has an incredible garden and takes even more impressive pictures {and you know how OCD I am about pictures!} I might just have to add Tasmania to my travel docket next year! Buckle up you guys, here’s what Lisa has been up to:

Hi Mavis…

Lisa garden 1We have had a really great spring and summer! There is still lots of food out there to pick and process but I am feeling a little sad that its all winding down. {That’s why your blog is so great as while I am warming up by the fire with my knitting in hand I can see the gorgeous gardens flourishing up your way!}

Lisa garden 2We did a lot of new things in the garden this year, and tried to emphasize using collected materials rather than dashing down to the hardware shop. We decided to pull out the lined paths in the main vegetable plot and pretty much go with one massive area and just plant areas as needed. Actually it worked pretty well, and also gained some space that was used up as pathways last season.

Lisa garden  3The garlic of course was the first thing harvested… it grew really well over the winter and I was so pleased with my haul! Garlic is a main ingredient in my BBQ sauce as well as my Sweet Chilli sauce.

Lisa garden 4My second veggie patch proved a hassle last year fighting the weeds as I had raided some of the lawn to dig into. We used the timber that we had removed from the main patch and created a couple of raised garden beds… something I hadn’t done before and was dying to try out.
Lisa garden 5We filled them with a mixture of 50% topsoil and 50% mushroom compost and let me tell you, the plants loved it! Lisa garden 6I got countless buckets of tomatoes, huge capsicum, mad basil and a whole bunch of chillies that are about to ripen {I hope}. Was well worth the effort!!

Lisa garden 7I’d also been keen to build a ‘bean arch’ We had lots of apple tree prunings that we pieced together to make a nice climbing frame for the beans. They grew up the structure well, but didn’t quite go all the way over! Still, I planted 7 year beans so maybe next season they will be keen to grow all the way over.

Lisa garden 8A part of the ‘using what you have’ philosophy entailed getting hooked up to solar power! Basically the last bill was half the cost of the same time last year, so got to be happy with that!

Part of the summer is also devoted to collecting a good stash of kindling and pine cones. This lot of pine cones was free, only cost was a bit of my dignity as I misjudged an electric fence, got a severe zap and was sat on my backside with a very girlie scream! I was all about commando crawling to get back to the other side afterwards!!

We also fill up on seaweed from the local beach as mulch {pictured here in the trailer and not yet on the garden}.

Finally, the tanks. We have limited storage {and no town water} but bought the white tanks to fill when the weather was a lot soggier and they have been used on the garden and have helped us survive through the long summer.

Lisa garden 9We were so lucky with our fruit this year too… countless kilos of raspberries, plums, strawberries…

Lisa garden10 And now apples. Its divine to just constantly graze on fresh fruit!
Lisa garden 11Another job that was finally done was the herb garden. The original barrel of herbs was in an area of the property that you needed a cut lunch to take with you on the hike over to get your oregano… Okay, not that bad, but not at all convenient.

This patch is right out the back door, so we made a stick wall to cover the unused hot water system, put Budda’s head back on (he somehow lost it) and built him a little fence, finally used all the driftwood that I had been driving my husband crazy collecting to outline the garden areas and mulched with seaweed. Its been going well and I have used it frequently!
Lisa garden 12Harvesting is always great fun! We dug up about three boxes of potatoes and estimate we will be eating those well into the year.

Lisa garden 13The purple ones do your head in – they just don’t look right but taste identical to the normal ones!

Lisa garden 14 What corn we didn’t scoff is in the freezer and there are still carrots and beetroot in the garden to be pulled up as needed.

Lisa garden 15I love cooking as much of our own produce as possible… stuffed tomatoes are frequently on the menu, pavlova’s become less expensive to make when you collect heaps of eggs every day, and I have made, used and sold countless jars of jam, sauce and relish at the local market.

Lisa garden 16 Lisa garden 17I even bake special cakes for the chickens that they go mad over!

Lisa garden 18It’s been busy with {as usual} a constant stream of visitors {long and short term} who enjoy a taste of the ‘simple’ life, good food and the gorgeous Tasmanian countryside. Now to start planting winter veggies and think of a plan of attack for next spring!

Cheers,
Lisa

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

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 3/21/2015

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mavis butterfield

Mavis Butterfield on InstagramFollow me as I share some random goodness

mini daffodils

Garden Updates

blueberry crumb bars

Recipes

decorum

Mornings with Mavis 

booking cheap flights

Tips and Tricks

How Many Times a Week Do You Shower

Weekly Shopping Trips and Other 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.

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.

Friday Night at the Movies – Ethel

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The HH gave me Ethel, an HBO documentary about Ethel Kennedy for Christmas, and let me tell you, Bob, I LOVED it!  It was a fascinating look into the life of Robert F. Kennedy’s wife.  It’s one of those stories that makes reminds you that we all have challenges, and handling them with grace and dignity goes a long way in the end.

ethel

Peace out Girl Scouts & have yourself a great weekend,

~Mavis

PicMonkey Collage

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!

 

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.

My Goals for This Year – Week 12 of 52

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dump tailer

1. Get Organized.

Once we are done with the remodel I’ll tackle the {small} storage room.

2. Run, walk or crawl a Marathon, half marathon, 10k, and 5k race this year. Nothing new to report. LOL. ;)

sanding oak cabinets

3. Remodel our Master Bathroom, Master Closet and Monkey Boy’s Bathroom.

Chino and his crew have been at the house this week working on the master bathroom and I’ve been upstairs working on Monkey Boy’s bathroom cabinets. I plan on staining them this weekend and I’m a little nervous.

living room floor

4. Finish Every Room in Our House.

I feel like every single room in our house is a total mess right now. Just a few more weeks to go until I can put it all back together.

5. Turn Spare Bedroom into a Cozy Home Office Space for myself.

I’m hoping to tackle it this summer when The Girl is back from college.

mavis butterfield

6. Create a Vegetable Garden.

Between the small veggie plot and container gardens at our house and the new garden I’m working on over at the Hillbilly’s house, I should have plenty of fresh veggies this summer. Girly Girl also said I could garden in her garden boxes this summer but they are such a mess, I’m not sure if I’ll the have the energy for the clean up. We’ll see.

7. Build a Path into the Hillside for Easy Access to the Upper Garden.

I’m rethinking this one.

Mavis Butterfield Gnomes

8. Limit my personal spending to $100 a month. I didn’t buy a single thing for myself last week. Weeeee! I almost stopped by Starbucks and bought a Passion Fruit Venti Iced Tea, but I fought the urge and saved myself $3.

So far in March I have spent $42.44.

  • In February I Spent $32.52 
  • In January I Spent $84.33

goodwill donation

9. Purge… Weekly. Find 10 things each week to donate to the thrift store. It was slim pickings this week for the thrift store pile. Monkey Boy’s sandals, a belt, solder wire, new {but not returnable} outlet cover, mini scissors, a water bottle and 2 tiny ceramic figurines. I hope I can make to the end of the year. LOL.

wild book

10. Read 1 book a week. 

I was planning on starting Wild by Cheryl Strayed last week but as soon as my head hit the pillow I was out like a light. This remodel is making me so tired.

primitive hooked flower pot rug

11. Slow Down.

I made a little more progress on my large primitive hooked rug I started last month. It’s pretty big {24.5×40} so it’s going to take a little longer to finish than my other rugs.

jam jars

12. Canning

Mrs. Hillbilly gifted me 2 jars of her mother’s jam. {Shhhh… don’t tell her}. Apparently she was feeling overwhelmed with all the jam in her pantry and decided to send me home with a few jars when I was visiting her last week. I LOVE jam… so of course I took them. :)

Did you set any goals for this year? If so, how are they coming along?

~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.

Ask Mavis: Mavis Needs to Borrow Your Knowledge {And She Answers a Few Questions, too!}

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homemade sweet potato chews puggle
A few great questions from a few great readers. Check it out and pipe up if you can contribute some amazing knowledge. I’m counting on you for a few of these!

Hi Mavis,

I have a question. I have two pugs who love the dehydrated sweet potato dog treats I get at the grocery store. They are sticks of dried sweet potato with a strip of chicken jerky wrapped around them. Can you tell me how you think they could be made at home? Would I wrap the raw chicken around the fresh sweet potato stick and dehydrate them together? At what temp and for how long? Although I have been gardening for years, this is my first year dehydrating, and I love it.

Thanks.

~Linda

Dehydrating chicken is pretty simple. I’d use the breast instead of dark meat because it dehydrates better. And then make sure you cut away every piece of fat and skin you can and just dry the actual chicken. Cut the strips so they are super thin and then wrap them around the sweet potato {check out how I dry mine HERE}. I’d follow the dehydrating guidelines on your dehydrator and set it for about 12 hours. Let us know how they turn out!

Zaycon-ground-beef-eventHi Mavis, I love your blog and all of your recipes, your family eats whole foods without all the processed junk. Growing all of your produce is awesome. Love that you can feed your family on 100.00 a month.  Have a question, you have mentioned many times that you have picked up meat from Zaycon using credits. Lucky you, and what a blessing for you. I also order from Zaycon. For someone who can’t earn enough credits, what would you add to your 100.00 a month for a family of three if you had to buy meat regularly. Even buying for freezer meals. Just curious what resources you would use?

~ Debbie

That’s a tricky question because it really is family specific. My family doesn’t mind meals without meat as a protein and we routinely eat them, so we go through less meat anyway than the typical meat eating family anyway I think. Often times, you can find discounted meat or meat on a great sale and stock up that way, which also will reduce that cost. If I didn’t use my Zaycon Foods credit and had to put a number on it, which again is subjective, I’d say $20 a month. But I am curious what other readers budget for meat? Anyone want to chime in?

flexees by maidenformHi Mavis, I was just wondering what the name of those tank tops you rave about… the great ones that hide the muffin top:)

Thanks,

~Kamy

My favorite muffin top hiders are the Flexees Women’s Fat Free Dressing Tank Tops . You can often find them on sale for as low as $15. I own several of these and let me tell you Bob, THEY WORK! I wear these tank tops every day under my regular shirts and they make a huge difference. You won’t regret snagging a few of these bad boys!

cascade delight raspberries
Hello Mavis, Our backyard holds lots of water during the winter months. I really want to plant my blackberry, raspberry and blueberry bushes in the ground but am scared that the water logging will kill them. I read about the french drain. Do you have any other suggestions? We have already tried thatching and aerating our lawn but it doesn’t help. :( With your vast knowledge I thought I would ask you as to what we should do .

Thanks!

~Meghan

Okay lovely readers, I need your help on this one! I’ve never built a french drain and so I’m not sure how well they work? Anyone use them and if so, you think it would be a great idea for Meghan? Any other tips for her to help her drain water off her backyard?

wood pallets
Mavis, Do you mind if I share a link to your article Pallet Gardening 101 on my blog I’m writing about Raised Beds and Pallet Gardens?

Thanks! ~ Patrick

By all means, share away! I never mind if my posts are shared as long as proper post and photo credit is given. Sharing is caring after all, right!

 

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, The North Face, State Necklaces, Little People, Peter Rabbit and More

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perspicuity

Word of the Day:  Perspicuity Definition: Keen judgement, ability to see through  Used in a sentence: He is noted for his perspicuity in studying a problem.

lucy the puggle dog

Yesterday was a fantastic day on the remodel front and drywall guy is suppose to come by this weekend to hang the walls. We’re getting there! Lucy the trouble puggle stopped by doggy daycare yesterday for a few hours to play the the HH enjoyed his day off. Well, until I told him he needed to dismantle the old shelving the in the closet. Ha!

I hope you have a great weekend,

Mavis

spring dress sale

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motoroloa g phone

Amazon Bonus Deal of the Day - Motorola Moto G – Universal 4G LTE – Unlocked – 8GB $159.99.

free kindle books

Available Kindle Books I think are cool…

The prices on Kindle Books can change quickly, so grab them while you can. Don’t have a Kindle? Download the kindle app on your other devices. It’s easy! :)

hersheys chocolate

Hershey’s Chocolate Variety Pack, 18-Count Box $10.25/$0.56 each shipped when you use the subscribe and save option at checkout.

*Keep in mind you can cancel your Subscribe and Save membership at anytime. To cancel or change your items, simply click on “My Account” and then click on “Subscriptions.” You can easy peasy modify or cancel any of your Subscribe and Save items at anytime, no obligation at all.*

the north face zip up

Cablea’s has the Men’s North Face Sabertooth 1/2-Zip Jacket on sale for $48.88 {was $75}.

Travelling-Abroad-Tips-and-Tricks

Are you going big on your next vacation? Gonna stamp up that passport? We travel outside of the US pretty often, so I have some great Tips and Tricks for Travelling Abroad, Find more cool travel tips on my Traveling Tips Pinterest Board.

state-necklaces
Cents of Style
has State Necklaces on sale for $11.95 & FREE SHIPPING, when you use coupon code HOME at checkout. These are super cute!!!

hd tv deals

Home Depot Special Deal of the Day - UP TO 17% OFF SELECT HDTVs. Free shipping!

little people toys

Check out these Fisher Price Toy Deals:

peter rabbit easter book

Amazon has the The Tale of Peter Rabbit Coloring Book on sale for $3.99 and the reviews rock! This would make a perfect addition to any Easter basket and it ships FREE with Amazon Prime.

lancome bonus gift

Nordstrom is offering a FREE Lancôme Beauty Bag {valued at $125} when you make any Lancôme purchase of over $35. Free shipping too!

driscolls sweepstakes

Enter to Win the Driscoll’s “Chocolate Covered Strawberry” Sweepstakes for your chance to win $100 in free chocolate, a double broiler, 10 piece dipping set and FREE berries for a year. Yum a licious! Enter HERE.

menshealthmar2014

Discount Mags is offering a 1 year subscription to Men’s Health Magazine for only $5.99 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout. This deal will expire tonight 3/21/15at midnight EST.

redbox free rental code

Get a FREE Redbox One Day Rental {through the end of March} with the code 5678JJNN. Use this code online or on the RedBox Mobile App. 

rainbow-heirloom-tomatoes-1

I get that food is more about the flavor than the presentation, but when the two go hand in hand, like in this Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad w/Feta, it just makes me happy! Get the recipe HERE or Pin it for Later. Find more recipes on my Salads Pinterest Board.

smart pot

Amazon has the very popular Smart Pots 2-Gallon Smart Pot Soft-Sided Containers on sale for $5.05 each and they ship FREE with Amazon Prime.

Would you like to know your credit score?

Credit Sesame is a free online personal finance tool that gives consumers an easy way to monitor and manage their credit and loans all in one place and save money on debt. Free credit monitoring AND $50K identify theft insurance in addition to a free monthly credit score. 

Credit Sesame provides consumers with free access to their credit score every month, analysis, advice and tools to take control of their finances, unlock their credit potential and borrow smarter. The greatest perk ofCredit Sesameit’s 100% Free! They don’t require a credit card, and there are no trial periods.

cottonelle toilet paper

Get 32 Double Rolls of Cottonelle Clean Care Toilet Paper shipped for just $15.66 shipped when you clip the $2.00 off coupon and use the subscribe and save option at checkout.

FREE Nestea Liquid Water Enhancer coupon

Attention Fred Meyer and Kroger Shoppers… Today only you can download an eCoupon to your Fred Meyer/Kroger card valid for a FREE Nestea® Liquid Water Enhancer. Simply load the ecoupon to your Fred Meyer/Kroger shopper card and claim your Liquid Water Enhancer by 4/5/15.

tide coupons

Check out these New Printable Coupons:

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.

The $20/$20 Challenge: Evelyn Shows Us Her European-Mediterranean Pantry

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Ev Pantry Pictures5Because my readers are far and wide, I’m getting to see some fun international  $20/$20 Challenge submissions! My first submission from Germany was awesome. And check out her price comparisons for some pantry staples. Wow. Here’s Evelyn’s story:

Hi Mavis! Greetings from Germany.

My name’s Evelyn, and I live together with my boyfriend in a 45-square-metre {that’s roughly 490 sq ft} apartment in a large city in Germany. He’s a grad student; I recently graduated and will start work soon. We moved in together about 18 months ago, and as we’re poor students, everything had to be very low-budget. Actually, the pantry furniture is mostly from the streets {there’s a free pick-up service for bulky garbage items in our city, so before pick-up, people put their throw-away furniture on the streets}, or bought as second-hand.

We strive to eat healthy on a budget; for us, it means eating ‘real food’ {a mostly plants-based diet} and cooking from scratch, and also, not eating in a cafeteria. We hardly eat out. We’re lucky to LOVE cooking and baking! We often cook together in the weekends, and usually take turns cooking on work days. We’ve recently started to read to each other; so the one who’s cooking gets read to. It’s great for both sides, especially if you’re already hungry before you start cooking!

I believe grocery prices are lower here than they are in the US, mainly due to a ‘price war’ of discount stores {like ALDI}. We’re trying to spend under 200€ a month on groceries and related items {that’s 231US$}. That’s a lot less than other people spend, I believe.

If you like to compare some pantry items {discount stores}:

1 litre of milk, 1.5% fat: 0,55€ {$.62}

500g of whole-grain toast: 0,55€ {$.62}

400g can of tomatoes: 0,39€ {$.44}

1kg of white flour: 0,45€  {$.50}

1 kg of apples is about 1,50€ {$1.70}

Also, our pantry is probably more diverse because I am of Japanese descent, so we basically maintain a twofold pantry: A standard European-Mediterranean pantry {we don’t exactly eat “German”} and an Asian-with-heavy-influence-on-Japanese one.

Good-quality, fresh and affordable vegetables are hard to come by in the winter. We often shop at around 9pm on Saturdays, when left-over veggies and fruits are sold at ridiculously low prices {shops are closed on Sundays}.

We buy coffee, peanut butter {the good kind}, fish and cheese in the Netherlands to save money, but shopping abroad is probably not a feasible thing for most of you! For us, it’s a 10-minute bus ride, and there isn’t any visible border – thanks to the European Union.

Ev Pantry Pictures11Our ‘not-mounted’ wall unit houses tea {Tee is German for tea in case anyone wondered}, coffee, and baking supplies. Not very exciting.

Ev Pantry Pictures10Yes, the poster on our fridge says ‘I want cookies!’ On top of our fridge, right now there are only empty boxes. Cookie boxes, to be exact. Also, coffee beans in a wine bottle. Is that weird?

Ev Pantry Pictures9We eat meat maybe once a month, so having meat in the fridge is unusual for us! It has been converted into a delicious lasagna :-) I have the feeling that the only truly German thing in our fridge is Sauerkraut! We only eat it in the winter, in an effort to up our veggie intake.

Ev Pantry Pictures8Our freezer is stocked with fish, veggies, some berries, puff pastry, and a bit of chocolate with coffee beans {an experiment of my boyfriend}.

Ev Pantry Pictures7This is our main pantry-shelf. It’s constantly on the verge of collapsing… but it still works for us. We like open shelving because it’s easier to keep track of everything, but we still hide the mess with a Japanese ‘noren’ ;-)

Ev Pantry Pictures6You can see we love baking – and true to German tradition, in addition to wheat, we also commonly use Dinkel {spelt} and Roggen {rye}. The ugly white box on top is filled with chocolate. Or other sweets that are better hidden because I want to eat them when I see them. In the bottom, there’s a wine crate filled with potatoes.Ev Pantry Pictures4

This is our beloved, sturdy second pantry shelf. We suppose it was originally used as a cupboard for a record player. On top, we store fruits. Right now, the selection is scarce. In the bottom, behind the cabinet door, we store {Asian} rice, pasta and seldom-used items.

Ev Pantry Pictures3This is our ‘show-off’ cupboard. The elephant on top is made of Lebkuchen, a kind of German gingerbread. He feels good next to the nuts.

Ev Pantry Pictures2Cookbooks, heavily used dry items, and a bottom filled with Japanese broth and instant food {about the only instant food we eat. Dry and plastic-wrapped, it’s very convenient to send by mail or take home after a trip to Japan}.

Ev Pantry Pictures1Our last pantry shelf is the bottom to our DIY countertop solution. We store our (extensively used) spices in the clear plastic box.

Ev Pantry PicturesOur oils are right next to the stove. We are both scientists and have a thing about oils. So we only buy oils in dark glass bottles, and we never heat olive oil. We have, for now, settled on safflower oil for any high-temperature cooking technique and cold-pressed rapeseed {canola} oil for medium-heat cooking. Olive oil is used for seasoning. Are we nerds?!

Actually, I would have loved to enclose a picture of our potted herbs, but the only ones that survived the winter look much too sorry. They really do, so I’ve already planted the next batch.

I love this challenge! Thanks for donating, and it’s so exciting to see other people’s pantries!!

Have a nice day
Evelyn

pantry-pictures-ideasAre you getting your pantries camera ready? You can participate in the $20/$20 Challenge by simply sending in pictures of your pantry. Find out more about the $20/$20 Challenge: Show Your Pantry – Fill a Pantry!

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 Change Out the Potting Soil in Your Containers Every Year?

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filling pots with potting soil

One Hundred Dollars a Month reader, Barbara, recently sent in a question about the soil in my containers.  Not only is the question pretty timely, given that it is almost time to address the containers on my patio, but I thought it might be something some of my other readers want to know.

Barbara wrote,

Hi Mavis,
I have a quick question for you about your garden containers that you use on a patio. Do you put new potting soil in them each year or do you take out what has died and add more soil to it? Some containers I have are larger and I am trying to keep from having to put all new soil which gets to add up in cost. I know that when you moved you are probably starting fresh.

Thanks for your help.

Barbara

I typically change out my soil once a year and toss the old potting soil into my vegetable garden.  I have found that my pots simply do better with fresh soil each year.  A lot of times, when I pull out the soil from the previous year, there are significant roots, which limit how well then next year’s plantings can do.  I feel pretty good about just tossing the old soil into my beds, because I typically mix in some homemade compost, and really work the soil in.  My beds seem to do great with this process.  Also, I usually make my own potting soil, which is waaaay more cost effective than buying the pre-bagged mix.

DIY-How-to-Make-Your-Own-Potting-Soil

If you have giant pots and don’t want to commit to filling them year after year, just add old gallon sized milk jugs to the bottom of containers.  It will take up some of the space in the bottom of you pots, and limit how much soil you have to add each year.  {The only time I would caution against this, is if you are growing something that likes to have nice deep roots, like tomatoes, in your containers.}

If you are only growing flowers, you can also just replace about 1/3 of  your soil each year, mixing the new in with the old, and making sure to remove roots from the previous year.  {You may want to consider a high quality organic fertilizer a couple of times during the growing season if you choose the 1/3 soil replacement method.}

However you decide to change out your soil, the key to successful container gardening IS healthy soil.  The plants are totally dependent on the soil you provide them in the small space to grow.  They can’t draw from the earth around them, so taking the extra step to make sure they have nutrient rich soil each year really will show in the final product.

Hope that helps.  Great question, Barbara.

~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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