Monday, May 31, 2010

Garden Update

I've planted a number of things in my garden this year. I'm really thankful for my newly constructed raised bed that my husband and dad built! We've had a pretty cold spring for the most part, so its only been the last few weeks that my plants have started to really take off. Since I started nearly everything from seed myself, it seems like it has been really slow going, but I'm starting to see a good bit of progress now.

I've got a few herbs in pots. The basil seeds I used were from last year, so I'm not surprised that I only have 2 plants coming up. I'll probably stick a few more seeds in the soil and see what happens.

This pot has parsley growing. The parsley is one of the plants that has just taken off the last week. No sprouts were visible 2 weeks ago!

My peas are doing great. I have four plants growing, and I've tried to create a bit of a cage for them to grow up using some poles that I already had.

This is my lone cucumber plant. For some reason the cucumbers have really struggled. I've had at least 6 little plants die already. I may stick a few more seeds in the ground here and see if they do better now that its warmed up more.

The green beans are looking pretty good too. They haven't taken off quite as much as the peas, but are still going strong.

The spinach is starting to open, and I'm guessing that they will thrive in this warmer weather.

Over the last week the lettuce has really grown up. I didn't thin any of it out because I wanted to make sure as many plants as possible made it since I've had so many die this year. I will need to do a little thinning out as the lettuce gets bigger.

This little pepper plant is hanging in there. It survived the cold weather and is getting stronger. I'm hoping it will produce some nice peppers!

And finally, the tomato plants that I bought. They have doubled in size since I planted them, and already have several blooms each. Looking at these next to my other plants that I've grown from seed makes me awful tempted to buy all of my plants next year! Seeds really are far cheaper, and hopefully the summer will be good to my entire crop!

Have you planted a garden this year? Which of your plants are doing the best?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Smarty Pants Children's Resale

If you've ever driven through the center of Middletown, you may have noticed this cute store-front in the square:

The shop is Smarty Pants, a children's resale store that buys and sells clothing, accessories, toys, and book. Smarty Pants has a great selection of children's clothing, all of which is in good shape and reasonably priced. Their toy selection is fairly extensive also, ranging from newborn items like bouncers and rattles, to action figures, play kitchens, and easels. As you can see from the picture, they also have a variety of strollers.

You can visit Smarty Pants online at and sign up for their weekly newsletter. The newsletter is very helpful because they give an update on their new arrivals. One thing to remember with resale stores is that their stock is always changing, so if you see something advertised in the newsletter than you're interested in, be sure to hurry in or it may be gone!

Smarty Pants buys children's clothing and toys by appointment only. If you want to make an appointment to sell something, you can email Dianne at Smarty Pants does not sell on consignment, which means they will pay you up front for your things.

When I talked with Dianne the other week, she also told me that they have a wish list where you can ask to be notified if they ever have a specific item. Additionally, you can email them and ask if they have something specific in the store right then, and they will get back to you! This is a great service that could save you an extra trip!

Be sure to stop by this Saturday, May 29, for their Memorial Day sale. All clothing will be buy one, get the second of equal or lesser value for 50% off!

Smarty Pants is located at 4 West Main Street Middletown, DE.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Freebies from Kraft First Taste

Are you a member of Kraft First Taste? It is a great website by Kraft that gives coupons for free products to its members in exchange for their opinion on the product!

The free offer that I was just given is for 6 coupons for free products! The products are KOOL-AID Fun Fizz Drink Drops, OSCAR MAYER Deli Fresh Shaved Meats, RITZ CRACKERFULS Filled Crackers, KRAFT 100 CALORIE PACKS CHEESE BITES, KRAFT HOMESTYLE DELUXE Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, and DIGIORNO® Deep Dish Pizza. These coupons have a value of $20!

If you are a member, check your account and see if you have this offer. If you are not a member, you can sign up on the First Taste website today (it may take a few weeks for your first free offer to come through).

In addition to receiving these coupons, I can send an email to 5 friends to share this offer with them. If you would like to get these 6 free coupons via my email, leave a comment on this post with your email or email me at I will take the first 5 people based on the time stamp of your comment or email!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I've been participating in Food Waste Friday with The Frugal Girl for a while now; I go through our fridge (and freezer) on Friday and toss anything that has gone bad. I also take a look at what needs to be used up so that it does not go bad and try to work that into our meals over the next few days. This has really helped us to throw out less food (and so we're actually buying less because we're using what we've already bought!).

The last few weeks I keep finding something that was hidden underneath or behind other food until it is past being able to be used. This week its a little (I mean little) piece of chicken we did on the grill.

I tried to be really thorough after finding this one, so hopefully there are no more lurking leftovers that will end up in next week's food waste picture!

Here's a recap of what this week looked like at Thrifty Living:

I made homemade cheese bagel twists, trying to copy the kind sold at Dunkin Donuts. Local strawberries are in season (on the east coast) and we went Filasky's Produce in Middletown. And (one of the free survey sites that I recommend) is looking for moms with children under 4 years old to join their panel!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010 - looking for Moms with young children

Banner Ad recently contacted me to let me know that they are looking for new members, specifically mothers with children under 4 years of age! is one of my favorite survey companies. Their website is easy to use, surveys are usually very short (less than 5 minutes) and you never "screen out" of a survey - something that can get really annoying. The short surveys often will qualify you for longer surveys that are worth more points. The other thing I really like about this company is that they will send you surveys for other members of your family - my husband has taken a few.

To join, click here and fill out the brief registration form. And just so you know, the links in this post are my personal referral links, so I do get credit if you sign up through me. I only recommend survey companies that I personally use and enjoy!

As always, feel free to ask any questions about survey companies. I also wrote about all of the companies that I use here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Filsaky's Produce: U-Pick Strawberries

Last week my daughter and I went berry picking with our play group from church. There is a great local spot for this called Filasky's Produce. It is located on the west side of Middletown just past the Appoqunimink High School. The address is 1343 Bunker Hill Road Middletown, DE

The berry picking just opened for the season last week, so we had no trouble finding enough berries. And they were priced at $1.85 a pound -- which is better than the grocery stores AND you get the added bonus of picking them yourself.

We brought our own basket to put berries, but Filasky's does have plastic buckets that you can purchase for $1 each. You will have to have your own basket weighed before you begin picking, so that everything is accurate when they weigh your strawberries to pay for them.

This is a great family activity that is inexpensive, healthy, and helps to support your local food producers. If you do not live near Middletown, check for local berry farms in your area. A helpful site for this is
And remember while you're loading your basket with pounds and pounds of berries, these are so fresh and free of preservatives that they will start to go bad within 48 hours of picking. Just have a plan for strawberry cheesecake, shortcake, jam, etc! (We ended up freezing ours to throw in our smoothies)

Happy picking!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I've been participating in Food Waste Friday with The Frugal Girl for a while now; I go through our fridge (and freezer) on Friday and toss anything that has gone bad. I also take a look at what needs to be used up so that it does not go bad and try to work that into our meals over the next few days. This has really helped us to throw out less food (and so we're actually buying less because we're using what we've already bought!).

This week I peeked inside this container of ham (from Easter I think!) and found it to be rather gross. We got way burnt out on leftover ham, so I really should have just stuck this in the freezer...

How did you do this week? Were you able to use up leftovers...or find something long forgotten in the back of the fridge??

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Homemade Waffle Sandwiches

We enjoy having breakfast for dinner every week or so, but it can get a little boring just eating pancakes and eggs. One of the things we try to do is copy things we could buy out but are more more cost effective to make at home. Both McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts have waffle sandwiches right now, so this is a bit of a spin off of them.

I got a Cuisinart Waffle Maker for my birthday a few years ago and it works great (and quick!). This day I only split the waffles in half, but you could do quarter sized sandwiches also.

I added some cheese and put scrambled eggs on top of it. This helped melt the cheese so it stayed on the sandwich better (since we used shredded). You could make your eggs any way you want also. I scrabbled because I used egg beaters this time.

Then add some breakfast meat. We had turkey bacon this time. I also put some syrup on the waffles. I probably should have used a little less because it didn't all soak in before we put the top of the sandwich on, which made a bit of a mess. was really good, and way healthier than grabbing it at a fast food restaurant too!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bargin Hunting

A few weeks ago I wrote about the $10 off a $10 purchase coupon that I got in the mail from Kohl's. My game plan going into Kohl's was to pick something close to $10, but I knew that might be tough because I wanted to get some maternity clothes (which are rarely cheap!). I also printed off a 15% off coupon that was emailed to me through the Kohl's mailing list.

I ended up finding a pair of shorts that were on sale for $18 (from $30...but you should never pay full price for anything at Kohl's because they are way marked up. I'm really of the opinion that 30-40% off should be the normal price there!). After my $10 coupon and then the 15% off (taken off the after coupon price of $8) my total was just under $7 - sweet!

I tried on another pair of shorts that I liked better (because they were plaid) but not style-wise because they had a full-panel waist (why would I want to add an extra layer this summer?). So I stopped by Mother's Closet (a maternity and children's resale store in Middletown) for another look. I was able to find a Motherhood tank top that looked brand new for $5.75, and then I hit jackpot...nearly the exact same shorts I had tried on in Kohl's, but in the style I wanted!

I guess it seems a little odd that I paid a few dollars more for shorts at a resale store compared to the ones I bought at Kohl's, but without the $10 coupon, the Kohl's shorts would have been way more. Overall I am quite pleased that I was able to find 3 pieces of maternity clothing for under $20.

Today in my mail I received another $10 off a $10 purchase coupon from Kohl's. I did get several of these last summer, but none within just a few weeks of each other. I am super excited to go back to Kohl's!

Additionally, I am planning to have features on more local businesses in the area in the coming weeks, and Mother's Closet is just one that is planned!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I've been participating in Food Waste Friday with The Frugal Girl for a while now; I go through our fridge (and freezer) on Friday and toss anything that has gone bad. I also take a look at what needs to be used up so that it does not go bad and try to work that into our meals over the next few days. This has really helped us to throw out less food (and so we're actually buying less because we're using what we've already bought!).

I thought this week had the potential to be a 'no waste' week, but alas, I found 2 things that had been forgotten over the last week. There's a little bit of mozzarella cheese leftover from making pizza last week that went moldy and a piece of cucumber that was hidden in my veggie drawer.

We'll see how things go this week. I am really going to try to keep tabs on things!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Great Sale on KitchenAid Mixer!

My favorite gift from any of my bridal shower quite possibly still is this mixer. I use my KitchenAid at least weekly during the summer and closer to every other day during the winter. I've been able to save our family so much money by learning to make things from scratch that are way over priced (and full of preservatives) in the grocery store! Seriously, I would consider this a must have for your kitchen, even if you only mix up a few batches of cookies at Christmas. It is a HUGE time-saver (especially for yeast doughs) and works great.

Amazon currently has the KitchenAid K45SS Classic 250-Watt 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer on sale for $159.20 (from regular price $269). It is only available in white. PLUS, the mixer ships free with super saver shipping!

If you have been looking for one of these mixers, this is the best price that I have ever seen! I do love that mine is red and matches our kitchen, but I'm sure the white one works as well as one of the colors! :-)

So, I guess that was enough gushing for one day...check back tomorrow for a food waste picture (or hopefully no picture!).

Thanks, Moms Need to Know!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Free Summer Movies for Kids from Regal

Every summer, Regal theaters offer a selection of G and PG movies that are free to parents and their children! There are two movies (one of each rating) offered each Tuesday and Wednesday and 10 am. Tickets are available only at the box office the day of the movie, on a first come, first serve basis.

In Delaware, there are 2 participating theaters, and each has a different film schedule. Brandywine starts on June 15th, while the People's Plaza theater starts on June 22nd. To check the schedule for your state, visit the Free Family Film Festival site!

I am really looking forward to taking my daughter this year since she was just a baby last year. I don't know that her interest will hold for the entire movie, but the great thing is that I can feel free to leave in the middle without having invested $14 for tickets!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Major Children's OTC Recall - Tylenol, Motrin, etc

I had not heard about this recall until today, and it seems like it just has not gotten around yet since the announcement was on April 30th. McNeil, makers of Children's Tylenol, Children's Motrin, Children's Zyrtec, and Children's Benadryl is recalling select products. You can view the full list on their recall site. It appears to be a fairly extensive recall, so be sure to check your products! You will need the NDC number on the front of the box (on my Children's Tylenol) of the product.

Our bottle of Children's Tylenol was on the recall list. I choose to request a coupon when the product becomes available again, but you can also request a refund. If you have multiple products, you will be able to request a coupon or refund for each product.

On the FAQ page it states that the recall is not for medical reasons, so while you should discontinue use of the recalled products, there should not be any adverse effects on your children.

Hopefully this will all be cleared up quickly!
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