Sunday, August 29, 2010

Super Baby Food Giveaway winner

Congratulations to Indeeds, commenter number 4, who was picked by to win a copy of Super Baby Food!

Thanks to everyone who entered! I'm hoping to have more fun giveaways like this one in the upcoming weeks!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Food Waste Friday

We do not have anything to throw out again this week! I am so happy about how the summer has gone; we have eliminated so much food waste! I think is probably due in part to eating more raw fruits and veggies since they do not require cooking.

Its much nicer to eat something cold when its hot out than to eat something cold when its a bitter cold day in the middle of winter. We'll see if the habits we've developed over this summer are able to continue as the weather changes in the fall, especially since we'll be adding a new baby...

Remember to check out The Frugal Girl to read about more people who are seeking to reduce the amount of food they waste each week!

And today is the last day to enter my book giveaway! The book is Super Baby Food, and is a great resource for making healthy food for your children and yourself (yogurt, fruit leather, etc)...this would also make a great shower gift to a new mom! Get all the details and enter here!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Free Photobook from Walgreens - Today only!

Facebook fans of Walgreens can get a free 4.5 x 6 inch photo book today only (8/25)! This is advertised as a "purse book" so it sounds like it would be a great way to have family pictures on hand to show people while you are out, without having to carry a bunch of photos around!

To get this freebie, go to Walgreens Facebook page and 'like' them. You will then see a tab that says 'Photobook' and will give you instructions on how to get your free photobook!

While you are on Facebook, check out the new Thrifty Living Facebook page! And remember to enter my giveaway this week!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Smarty Pants Liquidation Sale

Smarty Pants (the children's resale store in Middletown that I highlighted earlier this summer) announced today that they will be closing :-( They plan to get rid of everything, which means they have some great sales going on right now -- everything is 50% off!

Its sad to see a great local shop close, but I am looking forward to supporting them as they close up shop in Middletown. The official close date is October 15th (a Friday). Hours until then are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday 9-2, closed Sunday, Monday, and Friday.

Thrifty Living is on Facebook!

I have been putting it off for some time now, but the Thrifty Living Facebook page officially launched today! Go see it here!

I will be working to add some more features, but for now I will mostly be adding the posts I do each week. I hope to have a few special features for those who 'like' Thrifty Living on Facebook in the future!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Giveaway - Super Baby Food

I've written several times about how much I love Super Baby Food. I made all of my daughter's baby food, relying primarily on this book for instruction. I also use the yogurt recipe from this book to make my Homemade Yogurt, as well as the recipe for Homemade Fruit Leather.

This book has so many wonderful features! I utilized the reference appendix about how to prepare fruits and veggies the most. This was a great guide for helping me to prepare baby food that was age-appropriate for my daughter as she grew. The appendix has just about every fruit or veggie you can find listed in it, including instructions on how to freeze your baby food once it is made.

Several chapters are devoted to feeding your child each month (at 6 months, 7 months, etc). These chapters help parents to see what foods are appropriate to be introduced, and in which quantities. Ms. Yaron also makes it very clear that parents should consult their child's pediatrician and follow their instructions over any recommendation she makes in her book.

A large portion of the book is devoted to helping parents make healthy meals for their toddlers! I have not explored this section nearly as much as I would like. There are tons of recipes and meal ideas that will really help parents with picky eaters!

I have benefited from this book so much that I contacted the people at Super Baby Food and asked if they would be willing to sponsor a giveaway for my readers! They graciously agreed, and also wanted me to share that there will be a Super Baby Food App for iPhone coming out later this year, along with a 3rd edition of Super Baby Food in February 2011!

Win It!

To enter to win your very own copy of Super Baby Food, leave a comment on this post letting me know how you would use this book! Do you have a baby just starting solids? A toddler who is eating you out of house and home because of store-bought toddler meals? Or a friend that you know would love this book? Make sure that your blogger profile is enabled with a visible email address, or leave an email where I can reach you in your comment!

The giveaway will remain open until 10pm Friday (eastern time). The winner will be chosen at random and notified via email!
Good Luck!

Thrifty Living Turns 1!!

This week marks one year of blogging here at Thrifty Living! I started this blog to share some of the ways that my family is seeking to live a thriftier lifestyle, in the hope that my ideas and suggestions would help other families to grow in the way they manage their resources too.

I've had a lot of fun documenting our life over the past year. It has helped me to grow also, as I try out new recipes, learn to shop smarter, and manage the resources we already have more effectively.

A big Thank You to all my readers - whether you just found your way here today or have been reading from the beginning. I appreciate your comments and suggestions, which have helped me to grow along the way!

I thought it might be fun to highlight a few of the most read posts from the last year.

Several recipes are at the top, including Homemade Bagel Twists (I was inspired by the Dunkin Donuts ones), Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets (a favorite of ours too), and Homemade Chewy Granola Bars (a Frugal Girl recipe that I modified).

Our Cloth Diaper Routine details how we manage our cloth diapers on a day-to-day basis. I love using cloth (more than disposables!) and I have really enjoyed getting to help other people learn about cloth diapering.

This spring I wrote about How to Build A Raised Bed Garden, which my husband and father actually built for me since I am pregnant! It was really simple to do, and we've loved having a little garden this summer!

Lastly, Money Making Opportunities has been viewed a ton. On this page I have information about some of the easy ways that I put a little bit more spending money in my pocket: by using the search engine Swagbucks, by taking Online Surveys, and by sending out for Rebates.

I am super excited to announce a special giveaway this week to celebrate! Check back later today for all of the details!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yellow cucumbers????

We arrived home from vacation Sunday and found these cucumbers in the garden:

I had never seen this happen to a cucumber, so I did a little research and it seems like it was probably because of staying on the vine too long! We have picked a normal, green cucumber since, and it was absolutely delicious, so I am hoping for lots more of the green variety the rest of the summer.

Have you ever had this happen to a cucumber? Or any other ideas about what went wrong?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photo Deals

I'm so glad to see so many great ways to get my vacation pictures for less! There are several photo deals going on right now, so I have them in the order they expire!

Snapfish is offering free shipping on everything right now! Best of all, you can get a FREE (with free shipping, of course) 8x10 collage print with the code GRANDSHIP (expires today 8/17). This will be a great way to put a bunch of our beach pictures together!

Walgreens Photo is having a new special deal everyday this week! Today's special is for 60% off collage prints. Normally, this would be really great, but Snapfish's free collage tops it today! Remember, you can get free shipping on almost all your Walgreens Photo orders (usually poster prints are not free) by having them shipped to your local Walgreens store!

Through August 31, you can get a free large custom photo book from Picaboo with the code FREEBK! This is a $39.99 value, good for 20 pages, and you can even get a leather cover! Shipping will cost you $8.99, but that is still a great deal for what you will be getting. Even though there are still a few weeks left on this one, I would encourage you to get started early, because it is really hard to rush through making a photo book (speaking from experience here)! I've never ordered from Picaboo, but I have heard that they have good quality products.

Finally, Shutterfly is offering 3 free photo greeting cards through September 1st with the code SUMMERCARDS. If you go into your Shutterfly account under My Shutterfly and click on 'Enter special code offer' you can apply the free cards to your account. You will then have until 9/1 to redeem the offer. Shutterfly photo greeting cards always come out great! Remember, shipping should come to 99 cents.
Thanks to Deal Seeking Mom and BabyCheapskate for the reminders about these deals!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Thrifty Living this week

I'm at the beach this week with my family, so I'll be taking a few days off blogging! I do hope to be back later in the week with a brief post, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Have you ever seen ads for Groupon, but not known exactly what it was? Groupon is a website that features an exclusive sale item for major cities across the country every day. Usually the discount is at least 50% off the normal price, but many times it is much higher!

I've been getting the Groupon emails for some time now, but I had never bought one until this week. I look at both the Philadelphia and Baltimore deals, since Philadelphia is the closest city, but our families are in the Baltimore area. This weekend's Baltimore Groupon was for $7 tickets to the Maryland Zoo (this was more than 50% off). We had already talked about going to the zoo, so this was perfect, and was even a better price than the BOGO coupons in our Entertainment Book.

From the Groupon FAQ page:

We started Groupon to make it easier for people to enjoy the great things in their community. We do it by offering daily deals at unbeatable prices through the power of group buying. We also use Groupon's consumer collective to lift each community we touch, by featuring local charities and organizing support for community causes.

I really like the emphasis that Groupon has put on connecting people with local events in their communities. Its way too easy to forget all of the awesome activities that are available in the places where we live!

Some important things to remember if you sign up for Groupon:

1) You will be seeing an email everyday with a "great deal" advertised. If you are an impulse shopper, Groupon is probably not the best way for you to save on local activities!

2) It is best to have a few ideas about the type of deals you are most interested in seeing. This will make it easy to delete the ones that might sound interesting, but could be more likely to lead to an impulse purchase. For example, I have been looking for an activity for us to do with our daughter (so the zoo was perfect).

3) Setting a price range is crucial! Many times a deal will be for a high percentage off, but it will still be more expensive (several hundred dollars). If you have the money saved, then it could still be a great deal for you! You until about 9pm to decide if you want to buy the Groupons (and the Saturday one is good all weekend), so that helps give some time to think about it.

4) Make sure you read the fine print! Groupons expire (sometimes within the month you buy them), so be sure you can use them first! Also, there are sometimes limits of how many you can buy, redeem at once, etc. Always important to know the details.

Do you have any experiences with Groupon that you would like to add? Sign up for Groupon here (this is my referral link; if you would prefer to sign up on Groupon's main page, that's fine too!)

Monday, August 2, 2010

U-Pick: Lockbriar Farms

After the u-pick strawberry season, I kind of forgot that many local farms offer other fruit for u-pick during the summer. On Saturday, we went to Lockbriar Farms, located in Chestertown, MD, just 5 minutes from where my husband and I went to college! If you live in the Middletown area, it only takes about 40 minutes to get to Lockbriar! And remember to check out for U-pick farms in YOUR area!

Right now Lockbriar is open for u-pick blackberries ($2.59/lb), blueberries ($2.59/lb), and peaches (1.59/lb).

First we picked some blackberries:

Then checked out the peaches:

And finished up with the blueberries!

The first rule of u-pick really should be to walk down the row of bushes (or trees) a good way before starting! Everyone picks at the beginning of the row, but we had the best luck near the back. The blackberries and blueberries were so much larger and way more plentiful!
Look how big this blackberry is!

We picked over a pound of blackberries:

And almost 2 pounds of blueberries:

We ended up with only 2 peaches because we were mostly there for the berries, and we would have had to walk a bit farther to get to the ripe peaches.

Lockbriar Farm is located at 10051 Worton RD Chestertown, MD. They open at 10 am every day and close at 6 (M-F), 5 (Sat), and 4 (Sun). You can call them at 410.778.9112 or find more information and pictures on their Facebook page.
Happy Picking!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Homemade Bagel Twists (Dunkin Donuts style)

I've really been addicted to the new bagel twists from Dunkin Donuts the last few weeks. Its a good thing I've had a gift card, because this cheddar one keeps calling my name!
(Image from Dunkin Donuts)
I've made homemade bagels a number of times, and I even experimented with homemade pizza bagel bites, so I thought I would do a little more experimenting. I followed the same bagel recipe from John Lee as I did in the past, but this time I mixed cheddar cheese in just before taking the dough out of the mixing bowl. I probably only used 1/2-3/4 cup of cheddar, but you can certainly use more.
I kneaded the dough until smooth and shaped into bagels
I really wanted to try making bagel twists too. So I used 2 sections laid next to each other and wrapped them together.
I pinched the ends together and tucked them under so they would hold.
After resting for 20 minutes, they were nice and puffy and ready to boil!
I also added a little bit of cheddar cheese to the tops of the bagels before putting them into the oven.
And I'm so glad I did because they came out perfect! These taste so much like what I was craving at DD, but I'm sure they're healthier and they are way way cheaper!
Next time I will probably only use one section of dough to make each bagel twist, and just roll the dough out longer, bend it in half, and wrap it around itself. I'll be able to make more twists this way and they won't be quite as large. I actually put the twists back in the oven for 4 more minutes to make sure they were done. It also gave the cheese a bit darker coloring, which I like.
Here is the full recipe for homemade bagels (for my step by step tutorial with pictures click here):
4 cups bread flour
1 Tbls sugar
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 Tbls vegetable oil
2 tsps instant yeast
1-1/4- 1-1/2 cups of warm water
1. Mix all ingredients together (I used my Kitchen Aid)
2. Turn out onto lightly floured surface, then knead until smooth
3. Divide dough into 8 pieces and roll into balls. Let rest on the counter for 10 minutes
4. Roll each ball into a snake just longer than both hands placed side by side
5. Take one of the snakes and wrap it around your palm so that both ends meet. Use the counter and a rolling motion to fuse the two ends together and form a circle. Or use a twisting method to create bagel twists
6. Let the bagels rest on the counter for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and preheat the oven to 425 F
7. Once they have rested for 20 minutes, boil for 1 minute, then use a slotted spoon to flip each bagel over and boil for another 1 minute. I put them on a bamboo cutting board for a minute or two so they were not soaking wet when I put them on a greased baking sheet. Then bake at 425. The recipe I linked to says to bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for 10 more minutes, but I found baking for 15-20 minutes without flipping worked fine too.

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