12 Goals for the New Year – Week 7 of 52

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I came up with 12 goals I’d like to accomplish this year with the hopes of being able to cross one off my list per month to make them more manageable. I thought a great way to hold myself accountable to the things I want to accomplish this year would be to do a weekly update.

After all, we all need a little help staying motivated sometimes. Here’s how I am doing so far:

mavis butterfield1. Clean, de-clutter and organize my entire home in 30 days or less. Done!

I cleaned my closet, decluttered my bathroom, organized my office, gutted the garage, and tackled the laundry room. And now, because I am a freak and cannot sit still, my next project is painting the trim on our house. Giddy up! Can we get three cheers for ADHD please?

old jeans2. Fit into the same jeans I wore 8 years ago when we moved into our house. Well, I tried them on yesterday. Should I end it there? Okay, so yes I tried the pants on, and yes I can button them. However, it’s not a pretty sight {think major muffin top}.So my goal this week is to walk 100,000 steps {HOLY COW MAN} recording them on my handy dandy pedometer along the way. That’s 14K + steps a day. We’ll see if I can do it.

passport3. Travel. - I pulled out my passport the other day for my upcoming trip with The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird and noticed I only have 2 blank pages left!!!! How freakin’ cool is that? My passport expires in 2015 and I think I may have to order a few additional pages before renewing it. Wahoooooo! Sandra Bullock would be so proud!

4. Send my daughter to college without having a nervous breakdown thus spending a week in bed sobbing. It’s not going to happen, is it? I might as well cave in right now and find some cool jammies and stock up on Kleenex and Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream.

bad teeth5. Get 3 new teeth. ;) – Looks like everything will be healed up by May. Gee I can’t wait to shell out the price of a used car for some teeth. Dreams really do come true.

6. Pay off my car. – Workin’ on it. Here’s a dorky video from our trip through Europe when we picked it up.

rug hooking wool

7. Finish a primitive folk art rug I started 4 years ago. Instead of doing any actual rug hooking last week, I instead ordered a bunch of wool. It seems the rug hooking bug has bitten me again and I know have 4 projects going all at once.

fail8. Family Day. Do one thing together as a family every Sunday. – Major fail last week. I have no excuse.

9.  Secret Plan #1 – Still working on it.

10. Secret Plan #2

11. Secret Plan #3

basket weaving Colonial Williamsburg, Va12. Convince the HH we should buy a Salt Box Style House in Colonial Williamsburg. The more I look into actually living in Colonial Williamsburg the more I am thinking it might not be such a good idea after all. I had no idea there were so mnay rules!

mavis butterfield13. Spend at least 1 hour a day working in my garden. Now that the snow has all melted I can get a few projects finished. Next on the list, clear out the garden beds alongside the greenhouse.

So there you have it, my goals for the new year.

How about YOU? How are your 2014 goals coming along?

~Mavis

P.S. YES, I know I wrote down 13 goals. I’m fairly certain I won’t be able to attain one of them. {gee, I wonder which one?} :) But I wanted to add it in there anyway because I believe in miracles. 

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.



What’s In My Food – How Pre-Packaged Shredded Cheese Is Made

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How Pre-Packaged Shredded Cheese Is Made

You know those little packages of pre-shredded cheese?  Did you know that in order to keep the cheese from clumping, food manufacturers have to add cellulose?  No biggie, right?  Except what exactly is cellulose?  It’s basically broken down plant fibers {including sawdust}. I guess that explains why that cheese has such a drastically different and non-sticky texture from a brick of freshly shredded cheese.

How Pre-Packaged Shredded Cheese Is Made

Cellulose is actually in quite a few different foods, like ice cream to improve creaminess, and in baked goods as a calorie-reducing filler.   The FDA considers is naturally derived, so it’s even allowed in organic food.

Isn’t it crazy what we will do to food to make it more convenient?  Aw well, I guess a little extra fiber in the diet never hurt anyone, right?

~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.

Harvesting Lettuce in Winter with Lucy the Puggle Dog

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lettuce lucy the puggle dogDo you have a dog? Do they help you in the garden? Do they think it’s their job to sample everything you harvest? Well, Lucy the puggle dog sure does.

mavis lucy puggle lettuce

I simply cannot set foot outside without her being 1 step behind me.
mavis and lucy

Yesterday, I harvested a few leaves of lettuce from the greenhouse. And wouldn’t you know, Lucy was right there ready to inspect the goods.

lucy the puggle dog

She nearly bit off my hand for Pete’s sake! Puggles love lettuce. Who knew?mavis butterfield

Luckily there’s plenty to share. Well, as long as I’m just serving side salads every other day that is.
lettuce

Last night’s pickings. Not to shabby for mid February if you ask me.

If you have never tried growing your own lettuce before, give it a go this year. It’s super easy to do and homegrown lettuce tastes 10 times better than the stuff sitting in those plastic bags in the grocery store.. Seriously, a packet of seeds will grow enough lettuce to last you all season and it’s even cheaper than a single package of bagged lettuce from the market.

You can do it. So get out there and grow! No excuses.

Just remember to grow a little extra for your four legged friends too. ;)

~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.

Free Kindle Books, Dyson Vacuum Deal, Edible Arrangement Tutorial, Craft Magazines, Sara Lee Coupons

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old watering cans vintage

Is it just me or are you a total sucker for vintage watering cans too? Oh my word, I have no idea why I love them so much but it’s so hard not to buy one every time I see one at an antique store or vintage market. Please tell me I’m not the only one! :)

Happy Thursday everyone, here are a few deals for you. Have a wonderful day! 

Mavis

dyson vacuumAmazon Gold Box Deal of the Day - Dyson DC41 Animal Upright Vacuum Cleaner with Tangle-Free Turbine Tool

free kindle booksAvailable Kindle Books I think are interesting…

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

pressure cannerAmazon has the Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker on sale for $79.00 shipped. This pressure cooker comes highly rated by Amazon shoppers and has great reviews.

How to Use a Pressure CannerIf you are a scaredy cat and are afraid to use one, check out my easy tutorial on How to Use a Pressure Canner. I walk you through the process of canning vegetables in easy to understand simple steps. Learn how to use a pressure canner HERE or Pin it for Later.

amazon local dealsCheck out these deals from Amazon Local:

 

tissue paperIf you need tissue paper and gift bags here are a few deals:

amazon dealsA few more Amazon deals for you:

earring-backs

If you are always losing your earring backs you can get 144 earring backs for only $0.63 shipped.

knitting magazinesCheck out these Arts & Crafts Magazine Subscriptions:

Sara-Lee-All-Butter-Pound-Cake-couponPrint a coupon good for $1.00 off any ONE (1) Sara Lee Sweet Goods

How To Make An Edible ArrangementLooking for something fun to make for Valentine’s Day? How about an Edible Arrangement? They are super easy to make and I show you how in my How to Make an Edible Arrangement Tutorial. Get the directions HERE or Pin it for Later.

botanical interets tomato seeds

Have you ordered your tomato seeds yet? Botanical Interests has all their tomato seeds on sale for 30% off! Wahooo! Here is a list of the tomatoes I’ll be growing this year:

jillian michaels dvdsGroupon has Jillian Michaels Workout DVDs on sale for just $5.99 each and there are several titles available.

baby leggings

Free Baby Leggings - Just pay shipping

Click on “Shop Now” and select any 5 baby leggings you like!

Once you have made your selection, you’ll automatically be directed to the shopping bag. Enter the promo code “ENBABY” and 100% off the cost of your selected baby leggings – all you pay are the Shipping fees! {About $2.59 a pair}

baby safteyGet the 4-Pack of Door Stop Finger Pinch Guards for only $2.24 shipped. These would make a great addition to a baby gift basket.

del monte tomato coupons

Coupons for fruits and vegetables? No way!

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.

Chicken Coop Photos from Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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vicky and her chickenVicky and Buttercup

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

Check out these cool chicken coop photos and the stories behind them Vicky from Winston-Salem, North Carolina sent in:

chicken coop picturesHi there, Mavis!

In February of last year, after months of online research, I purchased four 6-week-old Buff Orpington pullets.  Until October, they lived in a Tractor Supply chicken coop and run.  I let them out a couple of times a day, but they were getting a little “cooped up” (nyuk nyuk) in there.  So we bought a Wichita-style chicken coop and everyone is happy.
wooden chicken coop
I live in the city and am allowed a maximum of 5 hens (no roosters) with very strict rules about their living situation (3 square feet/chicken for the coop; 10 square feet/chicken for the run, which must be enclosed).
buff orpington chickens
My girls are Buttercup (I’m holding her in the photo), Marigold, Sunflower, and Daisy.  They are all Buff Orpingtons.  Our winters are generally mild, but even after our recent frigid temperatures (it dropped to 5 degrees!), they have continued to lay regularly.  Such good girls!

chicken coop interior

Check out all the fine art! Who wouldn’t feel inspired to lay a few eggs in here? ;) ~ Vicky
old licence plate frames

Wow Vicky, I would have never thought to hang photographs of eggs in my coop to inspire my hens. I think you might be on to something.  With all this cold weather we’ve been having, I’m willing to try anything to get my girls to lay a few more eggs.

Thanks for sending in your story,

~Mavis

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.

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

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Blueberry Buttermilk CakeWhen I stumbled onto this cake recipe in Women’s Day magazine, I had a whole bunch of frozen blueberries in my freezer. The timing was perfect and the cake looked delish. So I got busy making it. The little kick the buttermilk gives it just makes the cake. This recipe is going in the permanent make-me-again file!

frozen blueberriesIngredients

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon  salt
3 3/4 cups, plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 3/4 cups buttermilk {How to Make Buttermilk}
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
1 bag {12 oz} frozen blueberries {2 cups}, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons coarse sugar, {like India Tree}

butter buttered panDirections

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the first 4 dry ingredients, reserving 1 tablespoon of flour. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, buttermilk, sugar, oil and lemon zest. Make a well in the dry ingredient and pour in wet ingredients. Mix just until combined {batter will be lumpy, do not over stir!}.

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining flour to evenly coat. Reserve 1/2 cup of blueberry and fold the remaining blueberries into the batter. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries. Sprinkle with the coarse sugar and bake about 70 minutes or until cake is brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove the outer ring and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

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 Find the Perfect Babysitter

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How to Find the Perfect Babysitter

I talk about a lot of things I love on this site: my chickens, gardening, yummy recipes, bartering, Lucy the Puggle Dog. But at the end of the day, nothing even comes close to the love I have for my kids. Being a mother is hands down my thing on the planet. Sure when they were little they made me want to rip out my hair from time to time, but they are really my greatest joys. I suspect you feel the same way, so leaving them in the care of others takes a bit of a leap of faith. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect sitter for your family (cause let’s be honest, sometimes that time away from them keeps you sane!):

1. Get referrals: Ask people you trust to refer people they trust. It’s a great place to start. Gather a list of names and numbers of qualified referrals your friends, neighbors and  family members have used in the past.

2. Check references: If you are unable to get referrals from people you know, make sure you gather and touch base with references from your potential babysitter. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions because this will be your only opportunity to get a glimpse of their previous babysitting habits.

3. Interview them: Conduct a phone interview with them to get to know them a little better. Do they have previous experience? Have they ever cared for infants? What is their hourly rate? Before you leave them alone with your kids, have them over for a short interview so you can meet them in person. It’s not only important to gain information from them (ie. are they CPR and 1st Aid certified? Have they taken any babysitting courses?), but to see how they interact with your children.

4. Trust your gut: If something feels off, pass. Even if everything about the potential sitter looks good on paper, if your “parent sense” is off, listen to it.

5. Agree on pay: Before you ever hire them, make sure you’re on the same when it comes to money. Ask what they charge. If they suggest that whatever you pay is fine, try to get them to tell you what they’ve been paid in the past, so you know what their potential expectations are. If you are clueless as to what to pay, pose the question to your friends on Facebook or to your neighbors and get feedback that way.

6. Check in on them: Once you’ve hired them, make sure you call to check in. Ask to speak to your children (if they are old enough) and see how things are going from their perspective. You can also ask a neighbor to peek in if you’re still nervous and they’re able. If you have one available, a nanny cam might come in handy as well.

7. Follow up: Make sure you ask the sitter how they felt the experience went. Did your children behave for them? Did they enjoy it? Then ask your kids how they liked the sitter. Only then will you know if it’s truly a good fit.

Any other tips or advice when looking for a new babysitter? What do you think a fair rate is for a sitter in your area is? Have you ever had a terrible experience with a new sitter?

~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.

Do I Really Need to Buy Seed Potatoes?

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My friend Heather recently sent me a link to this cute little girl and her experiment with getting grocery store potatoes to sprout.  I knew that is was best to use seed potatoes because grocery store potatoes were treated, but I didn’t know exactly what they treated them with {Bud Nip}.  Bud Nip is a commercial brand of Chlorpropham.  It is essentially a herbicide that stops potatoes {and as the little girl mentioned, other produce as well} from sprouting.

deals on seed potatoes

I have actually grown potatoes from grocery stores in the past–mostly when I was in a pinch and had waited too long to get seed potatoes.  I had pretty good success some of the time, but have also had some epic failures too so I usually stick to seed potatoes just to make the outcome more predictable.  The only problem is that there are so many “specialty” potatoes that I can never find as seed potatoes, so what’s a girl to do?

seed-potatoes-all-blue-red-pontiacOrganic produce is not treated with chlorpropham, so you may have a better time getting them to sprout but getting a wide variety of organic options is sometimes tough.  It’s a pretty awesome option for sweet potatoes which are almost impossible to find as seed potatoes here in the Northwest.

seed-potato-chittingEveryone has gone to pull out a grocery store potato, only to find it has sprouted, so what do you think?  Do you feel safe using that potato, knowing it had been treated?

I honestly can’t decide.  On one hand, if  your grocery store potato has sprouted, it’s pretty likely it will work as a seed potato.  The Bud Nip is supposed to, well, nip that problem in the bud, so if it sprouts, it obviously hasn’t done its job.  On the other hand, the herbicide might still be present.

I thought about the possibility of “making” my own seed potatoes, by sprouting grocery store potatoes {the best I can} and then using the resulting untreated potatoes as my seed potatoes to save a bit of money this year.

spring-potatoesAfter one season, I could use the seed potatoes year after year, provided I stored them correctly.  The only risk is that I have heard that you are pretty much begging for blight {and other potato diseases} when you don’t get disease free seed potatoes from year to year.  I want to introduce blight to my dirt like I want a hole in my head, so I am a little hesitant.

So, instead, I think I’ll just ask you all how does your garden grow?  Do you use regular grocery store potatoes?  Seed potatoes?  Do you care about chlorpropham?

~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.

Free Kindle Books, Free Starbucks, Man Cave Sign, Garden Boots, Dryer Balls, Garden Planter and More

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paper wreath

Well hello Wednesday!

I woke up at 4am to the sound of the wind howling like crazy and a tree crashing in our back woods. Yikes! I’ll have to wait until daylight to see if there is any damage in the backyard {I hope not}. Last time the winds were this strong the power went out and a tree crashed into our fence. Booooo! Give me snow or rain, but not wind.

Have a great day everyone,

Mavis

Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day - 75% Off Men’s Jackets and Coats and 70% or More Off Women’s Jackets & Coats

free kindle booksAvailable Kindle Books I think are cool…

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

all laundry detergent couponsPrint a coupon for $2.00 off any 2 all laundry detergent

cute dryer balls

Here are a few deals for your laundry room:

o'keefee's cream

Has winter has left your hands and feet dry and cracked these O’Keeffe’s Creams should help:

starbucks

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Starbucks.

Visit a participating Starbucks store between 2 and 5 p.m. on February 14 and purchase a Vanilla Spice Latte, Caffè Mocha or Hot Chocolate, and Starbucks will give you a complimentary second one {of equal or lesser value}.

recipe how to make hot cocoa miz from scratchNot a Starbucks fan? Check out my Recipe for Hot Cocoa Mix. It’s super easy to make and delicious too! Get the recipe HERE or Pin it for Later.

kathyalderfer ETSY

I was on Etsy this morning checking out my friend Kathy’s shop and her Sure Sign of Spring Necklace and her Guarded Heart Necklace caught my eye. I don’t know about you but I LOVE handmade stuff!

Chooka and Western Chief BootsLooking for a pair of cool garden boots? Zulily has Chooka and Western Chief Boots on sale today. I think I might have to get these Spritely Sparrow Boots for The Girl.

vertical garden planter

Back in Stock!

Want a garden but without all the hassle? Check out the Adams Manufacturing 36-Inch Garden Planter. Perfect for entryways and decks! Amazon has it on sale right now for just $25!

man cave signA few deals for the man cave:

woman's day magazine coupons

Discount Mags is offering a 1 year subscription to Woman’s Day Magazine for only $4.99 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout. This deal will expire tonight 2/12/14 at midnight EST.

How-To-Make-A-Boxed-Cake-Mix-Taste-HomemadeThinking about making something sweet for Valentine’s Day? Check out these easy directions for How to Make a Boxed Cake Mix Taste Homemade.  It’s great in a pinch. Get the directions HERE or Pin it for Later.

long layering teesJane has Long Layering Tees on sale for just $5.99 each and there are 10 color options.

webkinzThese Webkinz would make great Valentine’s Day or Easter Basket Stuffers

pop chips couponsPrint a coupon for $1.00 off any two (2) bags of popchips

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.

Vegan Friendly Recipes – Asian Farro Salad

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Vegan Friendly Recipes – Asian Farro Salad

My very vegan neighbor Francisco made this recipe & I tried some and fell in love. So I had to have his recipe and try making it myself. I was afraid the Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird would eat the entire bowl. But I’m glad she didn’t because I would have had to fight her for it. If you’re looking for a meat-free salad, this one should go on your “must-make” list.

Ingredients
2 cups farro, cooked
1 can red kidney beans, drained
1/4 cup & 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
zest of and juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper {more if you like it spicy}
3/4 cup mung bean sprouts {How to grow your own sprouts}
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt

mung bean sprouts

Directions

Cook the farro in a rice cooker. Add 2 cups farro and 4 cups of water to the rice cooker and cook for roughly 45 minutes for whole grain farro {less for pearl}. If your rice cooker has settings for various types of grains or rice, use the “brown rice” setting. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can cook the farro over the stove. Just add the farro and water to a large pot, allow the water to reach a rolling boil and reduce the heat, stirring the farro to prevent it from sticking to the bottom/sides of the saucepan. Cover and cook until chewy, tender, or mushy. Exact cooking time can vary from 15 to 40 minutes, depending on the type of farro you use and the texture you prefer.

Combine rice vinegar, garlic, lime zest and juice, ginger and red pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Add farro, kidney beans, mung bean sprouts, cilantro, green onions, salt and toss to coat.

Looking for some more tasty vegan recipes? You’ll love this cookbook:

vegan cookbook

 Quick-Fix Vegan: Healthy, Homestyle Meals in 30 Minutes or Less 

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