Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Frugal Gardening 101- Humble Beginnings

Finally, something blooming!


I posted back in March about our garden aspirations for this year. Since then, we've had a few obstacles come up. Our first batch of seeds did fantastic, but our cats decided the little seedlings looked delicious and ate the tops of all but one. Sigh. So, we started over.

Then as April rolled around, the old adage about April showers really proved to be true. We had several weeks of nonstop rain and cloudy days. The ground couldn't be tilled, and is just today being done. Although I can't really complain about storms and rain, compared to the devastation the folks down south are dealing with.

So, today we're tilling the ground and getting started planting the cool weather crops. Potatoes, onions, garlic, lettuce, spinach, kale, carrots, turnips, radishes, peas and cabbage will be planted over the next few days. We have 6 varieties of tomatoes, jalapenos and bell peppers, and eggplant growing in our basement under a grow light.

Here they are, and check out our super professional setup:


There on the left is the lone tomato plant that survived the Kitty Massacre of 2011, all of the others are still pretty young. Hopefully they will be ready to go outside at the end of this month.



If you see the spot in the back, that was a shed we tore down to expand our garden. The plot up front is last year's garden, which will we use as well. The new garden will go from the back of the fence, up to the tree.


A local guy we know has a huge tiller and will come do the yard for about $20, which is much cheaper than renting or buying a tiller. He's coming today, and I'm super excited! Then we can finally get some things in the ground. Hopefully in the next few weeks we'll be dining on fresh from the garden lettuce, spinach, kale and radishes!


This post is linked to Frugal Gardening 101 at The Finer Things in Life

Stepping Into The Coupon World

For years I've marveled at the coupon divas who could get such great stuff for so little. I've considered trying coupons, but it always seemed so confusing and overwhelming. Plus, we're trying to get away from processed foods. This is what I've told myself every time I considered diving in. This past Sunday, we were getting gas and I ran in to pay. The Sunday papers were staring at me, and I impulsively bought one. We've got a 3 month totally unpaid maternity leave coming up, so stocking up on some essentials seemed like a good idea. Here's what I've found so far:

Target:

Pantene Mousse & Hair Gel- $3.50/each
$3/Two Coupon From Sunday Paper
= 2/$4
Gillette Mach 3 Razors- on sale for $6.74
B1G1 Coupon From Paper
=$6.74/2

Kroger:

Ivory Body Wash- On Sale $10/10
$1/1 Manufacturer Coupon
=Free! I was pretty excited about this one.

CVS:

I finally signed up for an Extra Care Bucks card, and found a promotion that would give me a bunch of ECB's to start off with.

Maalox & Benefiber- Buy $20 in Maalox, Prevacid, Benefiber and get 10 ECB
Dawn- On Sale for .99
.25 Manufacturer Coupon
= .74
Dawn Plus- On Sale .99
.50 Manufacturer Coupon
=.49

So I wound up with 2 super cheap Dawn dish soaps, and $10 in ECB to use on my next purchase. My goal is to buy things that earn ECB's WITH my ECB's and hopefully get them for free or nearly so.

Walmart:

Glade Spring Collection Candle- On Sale $2.50
Up to 3.99 Free Manufacturer Coupon
= FREE! Love that.
Air Wick Air Freshener- On Sale .97
B1G1 Manufacturer Coupon x2
= .48/each
Gillette Mach 3 Razors On Sale $6.50
B1G1 Manufacturer Coupon
=6.50/2 ( My husband flies through razors so this was a GREAT deal)

Cub Foods:

Equaline Bandages- .69 with in-store coupon

Duncan Hines Brownie Mix- On Sale w/in-store coupon .77
.50/1 Manufacturer Coupon
=.27

Crest ProClinical Toothpaste- On Sale $3.06
$2/1 Manufacturer Coupon
= $1.06

Kashi Cereal- On Sale 2/$4
$1/1 Manufacturer Coupon x2
=$1 ea

LOVE this one. Kashi is some of my favorite cereal but is always pricey.

Not Pictured:
Ocean Spray Juice- On Sale 2/$4
Buy 2 and get 4pk Ocean Spray Sparkling Juice FREE

I did this deal, but they were out of the sparking juice, so the hubby is going back today to get that. However, as I was searching for them, I found coupons for $1/1 and they are also on sale for 2/$4. So we will get our free 4 pack, plus another for $1. THEN I noticed as I checked out that a store coupon printed for $1 off my next shopping trip. So we'll get two four packs for free! Pretty sweet.


This week has been pretty fun, I think I may be hooked! Last night I finally got our printer up and running ( so I can print coupons, of course :) and think I'll keep going with this. One thing I quickly realized is the need for a binder and a system. Fumbling through a pile of coupons at the store is no fun. What do you think? Do you coupon? Or is it just too confusing/too much work?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Menu Plan Monday



While I didn't stick to any specific plan last week, I did cook at home, so that's a definite win. But this week I'm going to get back on the organization bandwagon!

Monday- Lasagna, Broccoli, Garlic bread ( I'll be at work so hubby will heat up)
Tuesday- Crockpot Chicken Tacos
Wednesday- Chicken Rice Casserole, Broccoli
Thursday- Pecan Crusted Catfish, Rice pilaf,Salad
Friday-Pizza
Saturday-Steaks on the grill, Baked Potato, Salad
Sunday- Mothers Day dinner with family

One night this week I'll also be making a super easy recipe for fruit cobbler that I found in one of the cookbooks I received as a wedding gift. It took virtually no time to prep and was really yummy! Even my chocoholic husband enjoyed it ( with a scoop of ice cream on top, of course)

Our blender is on the verge of dying, so I'm on the hunt for a new, high-quality replacement. Apparently all of our green smoothie-making puts a blender through quite the torture test. Any suggestions? We want to keep going with these because both of us have seen noticeable benefits in our energy levels and overall health!


This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie