Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Free fruit, foraging, drying, and frugal snacks

Today's post is a guest post from Julie over at Juliecache.com

Look at the ground. It was not easy to maneuver the slope and the windfalls.
I spent one morning and one evening picking fruit with my handy dandy fruit picker. I may have to upgrade to a fruit picker like my sister's above -- I got to try it today, and that telescoping handle is pretty convenient for a short person like myself.
"I" of GAIN and I drove a 1 mile radius from our house and picked apples from five different public trees before dusk came the other night. I peeled, sliced, and dried about six apples this morning -- they are already gone. The kids have told me they prefer dried apple slices over fruit leather. But they still like fruit leather, so we also picked pears right as it got dark. The pears will be mixed with apples to become fruit leather later this weekend. (Commercial fruit leathers have pears as a main ingredient.)
This morning, my sister, her youngest, my youngest, and I went to pick more pears before the heat got unbearable. The fruit was like what you'd find at a grocers.
The negatives of picking your own fruit were very insignificant compared to the benefits. We really didn't expect to step in slimy overripe fallen fruit and see so many bees and butterflies, but we did expect to see the toddler eat a few pears (oh, so cute) and we did expect to gather enough for our families to eat. We easily saved a lot a money by not purchasing at the store -- three large boxes were filled in less than an hour. I believe Sara's plan is to can the fruit for eating later in the year. What a blessing to have abundance during our drought.

Julia is a foraging, food producing, food preserving, home cooking, bee keeping, and event producing mother of four. She lives in Iowa and loves to learn new things. You can read her blog at http://juliecache.com.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Menu Plan Monday

It's back to school week here at the Figgins house!  Here is what is on our menu for the week..





Monday...Leftover pizza, salad
Tuesday.... Brats, green beans, peaches.
Wednesday...Baked Ziti
Thursday... Crispy Parmesan, garlic, chicken with zucchini
Friday...Chicken quesidillas, roasted veggies

What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

No Spend Challenge

Only 10 more days till we kick off our No Spend Challenge for the month of September!  Here is a recap of my goals.

1.  I will keep my grocery budget below $100 for the entire month.  I plan to eat out of the pantry and freezer as much as possible.

2.  NO eating out.  We are really wanting to get our diets back on track.  

3.  No spending any money unless absolutely necessary.  

I'll be checking in weekly to let you know how we are doing. Will you join me?  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Coupons

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tips on Lowering Your Water Bill



During the summer my water bill always goes way up.  The kiddie pool, sprinkler, watering the garden all contribute to the increase.  We have actually gotten quite a bit of rain so that has helped my garden and deck plants.  Collecting rain water to use later to water your garden or flowers is a great way to cut back on water costs.  Here are some more ways to help keep your water bill low.

*Use your dishwasher. When filled properly it uses less water then hand washing.
*Don't pre-wash your dishes.
*Only run the dishwasher when it is full.
*Install faucet aerators. This screws onto the bottom of your faucet to reduce water flow.
*Keep drinking water in the fridge then it is already cold and you don't have to wait to let the water get cold.
*Use a low-flow shower head.
*Take showers instead of baths.
*Shorten your shower time.
*Turn off water while brushing your teeth.
*Check sinks and toilets for leaks.
*Wear your clothes more than once.
*Wash only full loads of laundry.
*Collect rain water for plants.
*If you have a wading pool for your kids, instead of dumping the water when it gets yucky use this water for your garden and flowers.

Feel free to share any other suggestions.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Menu Plan Monday

After having my husband home for a week I am ready to get back to following a menu plan.  We splurged a lot last week so my goal for this week is to eat at home every night.  Here is what is on our menu for the week.

Monday...Steak, zucchini, corn on the cob, peaches
Tuesday...Tacos, chips and guacamole
Wednesday...Brats, green beans
Thursday...Leftovers
Friday...Chicken hindquarters, broccoli, pears

What's on your menu for the week?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Staycation

Image result for staycation
       (photo credit)

My husband is home on vacation this week.  We wanted to save some money so we opted to stay home and have a staycation as opposed to traveling someplace.  We sat down as a family and planned out our week, adding in appointments when necessary.  We scheduled an event for each day of the week.  We wrote it on a large piece of paper and taped it to the wall.
Some of the things on our list to do this week are going on a family bike ride, boating and fishing, going to a movie, going to an arcade, attending the Iowa State Fair, and having a beach day!  Most of these will cost us very little if any money but we are still spending time together and making memories.

Here are some other ideas for a stay-cation.

Go to your local zoo.
Go to a park and have a picnic.
Go for a hike.
Hit up a museum or historical attraction.
Go to the pool or beach.
Go to a sporting event.
Spend some time at the library.

There is plenty of things you can do to get the family together and have some fun without all the costs of a vacation!