July 30, 2014

A Delicious Summer Fruit Dessert – Rustic Plum Tart

Isn’t it wonderful that we have so many fresh fruits available in the summer! I love making fruit crisps but this rustic tart is just as easy and it’s just as adaptable to other summer fruits like nectarines, peaches, and apricots if you don’t like plums. I just like the slightly tart & sweet flavor of cooked plums.

How to make a delicious rustic plum tart from scratch!

This is also a great way to use plums if you get a batch that aren’t sweet enough to eat fresh (it happens).

Rustic Plum Tart

Ingredients

Rustic plum tart ingredients

For Filling:
1 tbsp flour
¼ cup sugar, 1 tbsp and 3 tbsp sugar separate
2 ½ pounds plums, ½ pound kept to the side (chunked), the rest cut into thin slices
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup water

For Dough:
1 ½ cups flour
¾ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
⅓ cup cold water
¼ tsp salt

Also needed:
baking sheet
potato masher

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a baking sheet (or use parchment paper as the juices might run out and it’s easier to clean up) and set aside.

Begin by making the dough for your tart (sometimes  I cheat and use refrigerated pie crust)

dough for rustic plum tart

In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, salt, and butter . Use your hands to mix well. Slowly add cold water to the coarse dough until it is pliable and able to be shaped into a ball.

Place your dough ball onto a greased baking sheet and roll out flat to about ¼ inch thick. Place sheet in the fridge for ten minutes so that it firms up.

Rustic Plum Tart Recipe

Remove dough from the fridge and combine 1 tbsp flour with 1 tbsp sugar and sprinkle this all over the tart dough. On top of the sugar and flour mixture, lay out the plum slices, fanning them out in a circle. When laying your fruit on the dough, leave an inch clear of fruit all around the dough.

Gently fold the edges of the dough over the ends of the plum slices. Drop the cut up butter pieces over the fruit and place in the oven for about 45 minutes (until crust begins to brown and filling bubbles).

While the tart is baking, prepare some quick plum jam that is going to be spread over the plum slices. In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup water, 3 tbsps sugar and the half pound of plums that you kept aside, cut into chunks.

Cook over med high heat for ten minutes, pressing with a potato masher and then mixing continuously with a spoon. As soon as the fruit starts frothing, lower the heat to low and cook while stirring for another 15 minutes. This will make a thick jam. Yum! Try not to lick the spoon! Set aside to cool.

make some quick plum jam

As soon as your tart is done, remove it from the oven and immediately spoon the plum jam over the fruit slices. The jam will spread out and cover the entire top of your tart.

Delicious fresh plum tart

Let your delicious rustic tart cool entirely before serving (if you can wait – I never make it).

Enjoy!

How to Get Started With Couponing & Coupon Sites

I’m not a huge couponer but I do use coupons and they do help me save money! Every little bit of savings adds up in the long run! Do you want to start using coupons but have no idea how to get started?  Here are some basic steps for how to get started with couponing and at the bottom of the post is a list resources to find printable coupons.

Here's a basic guide for how to get started using coupons and a list of resources for printable coupons

If you’re not familiar with couponing it can be a bit intimidating at first!

A coupon is a piece of paper (or digital “piece of paper”)  from the manufacturer or store that offers you a discount for a specific item. Coupons can be used at most stores that carry that particular product. To be able to receive the discount you need to purchase the item that the coupon is for and give the coupon to the cashier (it’s easier to refer to paper coupons but coupons are also available in a digital format).  The cashier will run your coupon across the scanner and the amount of the coupon will be taken off your purchase price of that item.

How to Get Started Using Coupons

1. Start gathering your coupons. There are many places you can find coupons.  Newspapers, magazines, in stores,  online printables, and ones you can load to a shoppers card or app. In the newspaper almost every week you can get the Red Plum and Smart Source inserts.  The first week of each month Procter and Gamble has an insert in the paper as well.

Many magazines have great coupons as well.  All You is always full of great coupons.  Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Family Circle and Red Book often have manufacturer coupons.

You can also look for coupons on products on store shelves when you walk though the store.   There are  a lot of great websites to get coupons from like coupons.comredplum, Mambo Sprouts (natural & organic coupons). There are also times you can get great coupons printed out right at the register.

If you have certain products or brands that are your favorite try emailing the companies or calling them to request coupons.  Some companies offer special coupons if you follow them on social media sites as well.

When you are ready to take on more coupons start asking friends and family members to save any unused coupons or complete inserts they have.  Some people also choose to have more then one paper delivered to their homes. There are also coupon clipper sites you can get more coupons from.

*You can usually print out more than one coupon but you can not make a copy of a printable coupon

Couponing-how to get started

2.Decide how you want to organize your coupons.  There are three well known “systems”, the binder, the small coupon organizer and keeping the entire insert.

* Keeping a coupon binder is great but can be very time consuming. You’ll need a 3 ring binder, baseball card dividers and section dividers.  If your binder is organized just right and you come across an unexpected sale you can easily flip through to see if you have a coupon for that item.  It is best to organize the coupons in your binder by certain categories. This will take more time in the beginning but in the long run will save you time and money.

* The small coupon organizer is great for organizing coupons if you’re not going to try extreme couponing.   You could combine this system with the binder method and when you have a certain trip planned you can get out all the coupons you know you will need for that trip out of your binder and organize them in the small organizer. Check out the way I organize my coupons here

One way to organize coupons is to use a small expanding file -see how to use this system efficiently

* Keeping all the inserts is a great option too.  You can organize them in a little file box by date which will help when searching the deal hunting sites and they tell you which date to get certain coupons from.  Be sure to regularly clean out your expired coupons.

You can always donate the expired coupons to the troops.  They must be clipped manufacturers coupons. You can send them here:

Support Our Troops® 
P.O. Box 70
Daytona Beach, FL 32115-0070

3. Check the sales circular for your grocery store. When it is time to do your shopping, go though the stores circular ads and make your grocery list. Go though your coupons and match the sales with what coupons you have in your coupon stash. This is how you save!

*B1G1 (Buy 1 Get 1 Free) + coupons saves you money.  Stacking (a store coupon + a  manufacturers coupon) saves you money. Knowing your lowest price for an item + using a coupon saves you money (see my post on how to make a price book here)

You want to be as organized as possible so you won’t get overwhelmed when you are checking out. You may want to start out by just going to the store for your coupon items if you’ve never used coupons before or if you’re using a lot of coupons. Once you’re comfortable with the whole process you can then combine your trips and get your coupon and non-coupon items in the same shop.

There are lots of  coupon match-up sites that do a lot of  the hard work for you!  They tell you what’s on sale and tell you where to find a coupon for that item (see the resource list below for some of those sites)

4.  Check your stores coupon policy. When preparing your first coupon trip you will want to be sure to check out that stores coupon policy which can usually be found on the stores website. It is best to print it out and have it with you at the store.   If you can’t find it online ask someone at the customer service desk if they can get you a copy.  It is always good to have a copy with you in case anything comes up at the register because some stores limit how many coupons you can use on a certain item and other things.  (Sometimes you get a cashier that needs to be reminded about the store’s coupon policy)

5. Double check your items and the coupons you are going to use.  Before you check out, check your list and make sure you got everything that you planned on getting with your coupons and that you have the correct coupon. It’s a good idea to count how many coupons you are going to use if your are using a lot of them. It’s easier to make sure that all of them scanned properly when you check your receipt when you know the total number of coupons you used.

You may have to visit a few different stores to maximize your savings. But by using coupons you will be able to get sale products to stock up on for cheap or sometimes even for free!

Coupon Resource Sites:

  1. Krazy Coupon Lady
  2. Money Saving Mom
  3. Southern Savers
  4. Passion for Savings
  5. Hip2Save
  6. CouponMom
  7. I Am That Lady

Happy couponing!

Maximizing Space Under My Kitchen Sink

We have been on a decluttering and organizing mission and today I’m going to share with you how I organized the area under my kitchen sink using items I already had. I have to tell you that I have a weird plumbing set up under my sink. Most of the space is taken up with various pipes as you’ll see,  so it’s always been hard to find a way to make this area look tidy. But I’ve finally found the solution!

Maximizing space under my kitchen sink

Here are my 4 tips for maximizing the space under your kitchen sink.

My first tip is to empty the space and have a good look at what you’re storing.  That’s what I did! Donate/throw out things that you no longer use.

My second tip is to cut down on your cleaning products!

utilize the inside of doors when organizing

I have an all purpose cleaner that I make that I use for lots of things and a few store bought natural cleaners that I use. But basically I use vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, dish soap & tea trea oil in my various cleaning concoctions. I also keep the cleaners I use in the bathroom – in the bathrooms.

use wire racks on cabinet doors for extra storage

My third tip is to use the space on your doors! I have wire shelving attached to both of my doors (there are ones that hang over the doors if you didn’t want to screw into your doors). You could also use extra strong command hooks to hang the wire racks. The one on the left side is higher so the door can close with no problem and I keep extra sponges and my knock off Magic Erasers on that shelf.  The wire shelf on the left is low so that I can keep my cleaning supplies on the door and there’s more clearance for the door to close on that side.

use expandable shelves to maximize space under your kitchen sinkMy fourth tip is to use expandable shelves (locker shelves) and bins. Like I said I have a weird plumbing situation under this sink that gives me very little room to store things! But I found this narrow shelf at Ikea a few years ago and I was using it in an upper cabinet (re-organized those too) and it fits perfectly on that side.

organizing under a kitchen sink

So I can store some things on top and I have room underneath for a small dollar store container that contains extra rubber gloves.

use bins to organize under a sink

On the other side I’m able to have a larger shelf and a bin (that I was using in my pantry – re-organized that too) that slides partially under it. On top I have a little bin that’s from the Dollar Store which holds my cleaning rags and dusting mitts. I could actually do more with the vertical space on this side if I had to (like get stacking bins or stacking drawers).

Another tip – I covered the bottom of this cabinet a few years ago with some leftover peel and stick tiles. This makes it very easy to clean and if you have a leak your cabinet and floor have a bit of protection.

maximizing space under a kitchen sink

The thing about organizing under sinks is that everyone has a different set up of pipes and cleaning products (and budget) so you kind of  have to asses your own space and then find the items that will help you organize your space.

But generally speaking these 4 tips will help you maximize the space under your kitchen sink no matter what!

Delicious & Easy Chilled Breakfast Idea

We love hot oatmeal for breakfast but it doesn’t really appeal to us in the summer. With our days being super busy getting our house ready to put on the market…well most days we hit the floor running! Here’s a healthy grab and go breakfast that’s perfect for busy summer mornings. Delicious refrigerated make ahead oatmeal and strawberry breakfast in a mason jar
This is a yummy cold “porridge” and you can change the fruit out to whatever you have on hand.

Make ahead strawberry and nut oatmeal.

You Need
1/2 cup of Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
3/4 cup of milk (we use almond milk)
1/2 cup of fresh cut strawberries (you could of course use any fruit that you like instead of strawberries)
1 oz of your favorite nuts or seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons of sugar (optional)- Can substitute with honey, agave, maple syrup, jam etc.
sprinkle of cinnamon

Put your rolled oats and milk into a microwave safe bowl. Stir and heat for about 30 seconds in the microwave.  Don’t worry if it seems runny. The oats will absorb the milk overnight.  Add  some sweetener of your choice and taste test to see if you want to add more. Add nuts/seeds (like chia, sunflower, hemp) and sliced strawberries and stir gently.  Sprinkle with some cinnamon. Cover your bowl and refrigerate overnight and eat chilled. If you like,  you can transfer to a mason jar and then sprinkle cinnamon on top and refrigerate.  *I’ve kept them in the fridge for 1-2 days and they were fine (depends on the fruit you use). makes 1 serving

grab and go oatmeal breakfast in a mason jar

It’s so convenient to just be able to wake up and grab a healthy breakfast! Mason jars are so easy to take to work with you and they make it easy for overnight guests or kids to get they’re own breakfast!

Vegetable Garden Tour 2014

Hi everyone! I have a pictured filled vegetable garden tour for you today. I took tons of photos since this will probably be my last year of gardening here since we will be listing our house in a few weeks. I thought I’d share a few with you. This is very bittersweet…I’m ready to move but I’d like to take my yard with me :)

Vegetable garden tour

I didn’t plant as much as I usually do since I think we won’t really be around to harvest much of it.  I also got a late start because I had some other things to finish up (like my deck). So the garden is not as far a long as it normally would be this time of year.

A Cultivated Nest Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

My Vegetable Garden

growing cantaloupe in a raised bed

I’m getting lots of cantaloupes this year! You never know what will do well :) Still no zucchini! I always laugh when people say that zucchini is the easiest thing to grow!

tomatoes planted in a raised bed with marigolds and basil

I’m not growing many tomatoes this year so I put them all in this bed with some marigolds, basil and micro greens (at the other end). The tomatoes in the front are romas. If you want to know how I plant my tomatoes you can check out my post here.

potting area in vegetable garden

I moved my potting bench into the garden when I did a back door area makeover. My daughter and I built this paver patio one summer.

container garden

I planted a few things in pots so I could take some veggies with me.

potting bench with a sink

My husband built me this potting bench out of salvaged wood ( link here).  It’s really wonderful – so large and it has a sink! There’s a bucket underneath the sink to catch water – which is great not only when rinsing vegetables but also when it rains.

growing eggplant in a raised bed

I only planted this one eggplant this year.

banana peppers companion planted with eggplant

peppers companion planted with eggplant

I have lots of different peppers. Which I companion planted with eggplant and cucumber in one raised bed.

bean teepee

The beginning of a bean teepee. This first planting didn’t grow so these are ones I replanted a few weeks back. There’s a pumpkin plant in that bed as well.

I also have a  herb bed. I grow my most used herbs in a container on my deck (link here) so they’re easy to get when I’m cooking . The bed in the garden has mint, dill, thyme, and lemon balm.

There’s also one bed devoted to greens – swiss chard, 2 types of kale and some lettuce.

compost area in the vegetable garden

The compost area.

vegetable garden seating area

A seating area. You can see more of that in this post (link here)

And there are  lots of flowers!

teacup birdfeeder in  clump of zinnias

I like to just let the flowers that pop up stay where they are.

carrots gone to seed make pretty "flowers"

That white puffy flower is actually a carrot that popped up outside this bed gone to seed. So pretty!

flowers in the vegetable garden

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the garden. I’m going to be doing a video tour of the garden in a week or so that I’ll post to YouTube but I’ll let you all know when that is ready.

Have a great weekend!

Mini Pumpkin Bread S’more Trifle

We love pumpkin treats all year long not just in the fall. As a matter of fact I just made pumpkin pie last week! It’s my husband’s favorite pie. I buy cans of pumpkin when they’re dirt cheap after the holidays (and I usually grow a few pumpkins every year that I cook). So I always have plenty of canned pumpkin on hand. Here’s a tasty take on a summer time campfire treat that uses pumpkin!

Delicious Mini Pumpkin Bread S'more Trifles

I’ve included a easy pumpkin bread recipe but of course you can use your own favorite pumpkin bread recipe.

Mini Pumpkin Bread  S’more Trifle

Ingredients -

1 15 oz. can of canned pumpkin
1 C. oil or applesauce
1 ½ C. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon

For the trifle -
chocolate chips
mini marshmallows
whipped cream (I used Reddi-Wip but make your own from scratch if that’s what you like)

Directions -

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

#1. Combine all the wet ingredients: pumpkin, oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.

#2. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix well.

#3. Pour the pumpkin batter evenly into the two greased loaf pans.  The bread will pop right out!

#4. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Bread will turn a light golden brown color.

#5. Remove the two loaves from the oven and let cool completely. Turn the pans over and remove the loaves onto a large cookie sheet. Using a knife and fork cut the bread into small chunks. *If only doing a few trifles only use what you need – cut the loaves in half if needed.

Pumpkin S'more Mini Trifle Ingredients

How to Build the Trifles

Next, begin layering the trifles -
Layer 1: pumpkin bread – enough to cover the bottom of your trifle dish.
Layer 2: chocolate chips and mini marshmallows – I just went by eye and sprinkled a small handful on top of the pumpkin bread.
Layer 3: whipped cream
Layer 4: pumpkin bread
Layer 5: chocolate chips & mini marshmallows – again, I did this by eye, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Top Layer: Whipped cream with some chocolate chips on top.

These are so good! Mini pumpkin s'more trifles

*Serve immediately. I do not recommend saving (the whipped cream melts quickly). If you have any bread leftover you can save that in an airtight container up to 1 week.

*Makes approximately 16 mini trifles.

10 Household Organizational Tips You Need To Know

When you take a little time to organize each and every day, you will eventually have an organized home. Check out the following 10 household organizational tips that will help you clean, organize, and get your home in tip top shape. My only advice would be to take a break in between each tip, so you don’t wear yourself completely out!

10 need to know organizational tips
#1. Household Chore List—Isn’t it time everyone helps pitch in around the house? Check out this household chore list.
#2. 12 Steps to Deep Cleaning—Don’t wait for spring to get your household clutter, cleaning, and organization under control.
#3. Organize Those Scarves—Since scarves are in style, you may need these tips to help you organize them.
#4. Organize the Linen Closet—6 easy steps to organizing your linen closet.
#5. Organize Your Kitchen Pantry – Don’t have a huge pantry? See how to organize a small pantry closet.
#6. Organized Computer Desk Station—The kids need a little help organizing too! Check out how you can make your kids a DIY computer desk station and organize it too.
#7. Closet Shelf Organization—Now is the time to get your closet shelf a little more organized!
#8. DIY Jewelry Organizer– Don’t let your jewelry just around in your bedroom. This DIY jewelry organizer is perfect for organizing your jewelry.
#9. Make a Family Command Center—Have one place for schedules, notes, school papers, bills, etc.
#10. DIY Refrigerator Mats -  Make your own refrigerator mats and spend less time on cleaning the fridge shelves.

There you have it! Ten tips that will help you organize different parts of your home.

What part of your home do you feel you need help in organizing?

My Chalkboard Kitchen Wall & Some Kitchen Organization

I wanted to show you guys my new chalkboard kitchen wall and a few little changes in the kitchen! My kitchen has been in a crazy state lately because I’m clearing my counters off, re-organizing cabinets and purging lots of stuff.

What a cute idea! A chalkboard wall with a  kitchen measurement conversion chart on it!

So this chalkboard project started because I  had lots of stuff sitting on this part of my kitchen counter (next to my cook top) that I moved to other places and then, since this area looked so nice, I just wanted a new look. :)  So I painted that wall with some chalkboard paint that I already had and for now I have a sort of kitchen measurement conversion chart on it.

DIY Toile Art

This is the before. I made these pictures I think about 10 years ago. They’re just pieces of toile fabric that I glued onto some cardboard and framed. This wall is a little strange in that the wall oven is behind it. This wall is actually covered in white with gold fleck formica! I’ve painted over it many many times because this kitchen has been about 7 different colors!

Cooking measurements chalkboard wall

This is the after. I thought cooking measurements would be cute for now.  I can always change it to something else like dinner menus or a saying later on. That’s the beauty of chalkboard – it’s definitely for those who like to change things up!

organize your cooking oils on a lazy susan

Some changes I made to this little counter top area -I used a Lazy Susan that I was using in my refrigerator to organize my most used oils (not sure I like it in the fridge – I think it took up too much space). I would have liked to have put the oils in the cabinet with the spices but those shelves don’t move so these bottles don’t fit. That’s my fancy Davis & Waddell pepper mill that I got at the thrift store in May!

Target Threshold white utensil holder

I don’t have a lot of drawers so I like to keep my larger utensils out since it makes them easy to grab when I’m cooking. I cook a lot! I sometimes cook 3 meals a day – most days at least 2. So whatever makes things easier for me!  I just got this cute utensil holder at Target – it’s part of the Threshold line.

black and white marble checkerboard floor and chalkboard wall

So this little counter space used to be filled with all kinds of things that have found new homes! Now I have a little more room to the left of my cook top and I was really shocked at what a difference this little change makes in my enjoyment of cooking!

Chalkboard wall in the kitchen with cooking measurements

My favorite thing though is the chalkboard wall!

I also re-organized my broom closet turned pantry and a few other things in the kitchen – so look for those future posts!

Have a great weekend!

9 Scrumptuous Crockpot Slow Cooker Desserts

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to heat up my kitchen in the summer! Yet I don’t want to stop making our own baked goodies. Enter the crockpot! I love using my crockpot and I know most of you do too! Since the temperatures are heating up, I thought I’d put together a few dessert recipes that you can make in the crockpot/slow cooker.

9 Scrumptious desserts that you can make in a crockpot/slow cooker!

Did you know you could bake in your crockpot? Well you can!  All recipes can be found at the linked sources.

9 Crockpot Desserts

Dreamy Crockpot Hazelnut Cupcakes by Crockpot Gourmet

Dreamy Crockpot Hazelnut Cupcakes by Crockpot Gourmet

crock pot 7 layer bars by Tammilee Tips

Crockpot 7 Layer Bars by Tammilee Tips

Crock Pot Carrot Cake by Moms With Crockpots

(From Scratch) Crockpot Carrot Cake by Moms With Crockpots

White chocolate raspberry cream cake by Betty Crocker

White Chocolate Raspberry Cream Cake by Betty Crocker

Slow Cooker Lava Cake by Easy Slow Cooker Meals

(5 Ingredient) Slow Cooker Lava Cake by Easy Slow Cooker Meals

apple butterscotch crisp by Crockpot Ninja

Apple Butterscotch Crisp by Crockpot Ninja

crockpot candy by Cookies and Cups

Super easy Crockpot Candy by Cookies and Cups

slow cooker monkey bread by Passionate Penny Pincher

Slow Cooker Monkey Bread by Passionate Penny Pincher

Crockpot S'more Dessert by Mummy Deals

Crockpot S’more Dessert by Mummy Deals

Don’t let the summer heat keep you from baking desserts. Pull that crockpot out and try a few of these desserts. They’re super easy!

Linking to: Thrifty Thursday

New Seating Area In The Veggie Garden

Hi everyone! We’re still plugging away at projects here. But I wanted to share with you a new seating area in my vegetable garden. Some of you may remember that my daughter and I built a paver patio in the veggie garden a few years ago (link here).

A pretty seating in a vegetable garden

Anyway, we moved my potting bench into the garden onto that patio when we re-did our back door area (link here). Plus I took out my strawberry bed and my reclaimed door garden shed. So I had a big open space that I felt needed to be filled with something. So I decided to stage it as a little seating area. I used furniture I already had. I only bought some new seat cushions from Target and solar light/plant hanger from Big Lots.

Let me show you around. I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Entrance into the vegetable garden

As you walk into the vegetable garden you go past our blueberry bushes to your right (we took down the blueberry hut as well link here if you want to see what it looked like).

garden display of coleus, old shutter, old bench and plate flower

This little bench is from a picnic table set we first had when we moved to this house. The shutter I’ve had for a while. I have two- one I actually finished re-painting and it hangs in my screened in porch. Don’t remember where I got the wire basket from but I painted Home Sweet Home on the front.  It’s filled with some coleus (which I really like because they are super easy to propagate). The dish flower is from Cracker Barrel.

old french door repurposed in a garden

This is the door from my garden shed which I’m repurposing as garden art. I was going to hang a window box on it but decided that I didn’t want to damage it since I’d like to reuse it at some point.  The blue pots in iron hangers I’ve had forever. They’re planted with some potato vine. Love their chartreuse color!

blue transferware in an old iron planter

I used to keep some garden tools in this iron planter. Now it’s filled with some blue transferware that I don’t use any more. The blackberry vine is from blackberry bushes I have growing on the outside of the fence.

a concrete chicken in the vegetable garden

The only chicken I have :)

seating area in the vegetable garden

The view is pretty nice from this seating area and it’s a great place to take a break from weeding!

looking out onto the vegetable garden

Tour of the garden coming soon!

zinnias growing in the vegetable garden

13 Unique Ways To Save Money

Written by Jess Weaver for A Cultivated Nest.

Are you tired of being in debt? Maybe you just want to save some money for something special. Well, there are many ways you can save a bit of cash, while still living (and loving) life that may not be your ordinary way to save money!

13 Unique Ways to Save Money

Here are 13 unique ways you can start saving money right away:

#1. Get Weird
Hear me out, start picking up every penny, nickel, dime, and dollar you see on the street. People may look at you a little weird, but it’s a great way to save up money over time.

#2. Leftovers
Make it known that you are willing to accept any one’s hand me downs and leftovers. This leftover thing doesn’t need to be weird. Just take leftovers when people offer them to you (after holidays and family gatherings, work functions, church functions). Better you use them than to have them thrown out.

#3. Don’t wash your hair
If you usually wash your hair every day try every other day or every third day. You’ll save money on hair care products and water.

#4. Go With a Store Bought Phone
In today’s day and age, you can save a ton of money by going with a store bought phone. Straight Talk has the same service (in most locations) as the bigger brands, like AT&T and Verizon.

#5. Hang Around Thrifty People
If you are spending a lot of time with people who spend money, then you will probably spend a lot of money as well. Hang around cheap/thrifty people and you are less likely to spend money.

#6. Be “Stingy”
Americans spend way more money than they really need to. It’s time to get a little stingy with your money. You don’t need to go out with your friends every weekend or leave the house every day (unless you work of course). Stay home and watch the dollar signs add up.

#7. Go to Bed Earlier
I know some of you have to stay up and work or whatever it is you do at night. However, going to bed when it gets dark outside is one way to save money on electricity.

#8. Detail Your Own Car
You probably ignore this part of your car anyways, but in case you get the itch to pay someone to do this. Don’t do it. Simply wash, wax, and detail your own car to save some money in the long run. If you’d like to make extra money, you could even start a little side business in the car detailing department.

#9.Use a Clear Jar
Every time you get some change –  a penny, quarter, or dime put it in the clear jar. It’s amazing what you can save over a short (or long) period of time. The clear jar helps you see your progress a little better.

#10.  Clearance Section
Have you ever stopped and looked in the clearance/markdown section of the grocery store? It’s not just old food that’s sitting there to be bought. Most of the time this is food that is simply changing labels (companies decide to upgrade branding from time to time). They put it in the clearance section to make room for new stuff or a new meat sale starts and they have to get rid of meat to make room.

#11. Get Rid of Not Only Cable but Your Internet
If you want to really save money, consider getting rid of your internet. This might take some getting used to, but there are plenty of free WiFi spots all over town.

#12. Skip Couponing (if you’re an over spender)
If you are an over spender, sometimes couponing can lead to you spending more money than you would without couponing. Only coupon for what you need.

#13. Recycle Everything
No joke, recycling  or repurposing can help you save a lot of money. However, you don’t want to be one of those people on a television show because you decided to collect every single piece of paper you came across (trust me).

I hope these tips for little things you can do to save money help you!

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My Fourth of July Chalkboard

4th of July chalkboard art

I only did a little decorating for the 4th of July since we won’t be home for most the day anyway. I re-did the chalkboard in my dining room with a 4th of July theme.

Fourth of July Chalkboard Art

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Refreshing Strawberry Lime Basil Infused Water

With the weather getting hotter and hotter it’s important to stay hydrated! I’m really loving the infused waters I’ve been drinking all summer. Here’s a new one – strawberry lime basil! I have a ton of basil growing in containers and in raised beds plus strawberries are in season so those two ingredients were just naturals. The lime gives it a refreshing citrusy flavor. Give it a try – it’s a delicious way to get your daily water requirement in!

How to make refreshing strawberry basil lime infused water.  A delicious way to stay hydrated this summer!
Wouldn’t this be pretty to serve your guests for the 4th of July!

Prep time is short but for best flavor they do need to steep for a while. Overnight is ideal but at least a few hours if you can’t do the overnight steep.

Strawberry Lime Basil Infused Water Ingredients

1 16 oz. canning jar
3-4 fresh strawberries, halved
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
3-4 lime slices

strawberry basil lime infused water recipe in a mason jar

Directions

Add all the fruit to the canning jar and use a spoon or a fork to gently mash the fruit and leaves down – this will let the juice out to infuse your water (it’s called “muddling”). You can strain them out later or leave in – it’s up to you.

Next, fill the jar with filtered water, place the cover on and refrigerate overnight for the best flavor.

I strain mine and then I add some more fresh sliced strawberries, lime slices and basil (looks prettier if it’s not just you drinking it).

**If you’d prefer to use a larger or smaller canning jar, simply double or cut the recipe ingredients in half and refrigerate overnight.

***This will keep about 2 days in the fridge.

These infused waters really taste as great as they look. Plain water can get boring so give this a try!

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