Blogs

Wed
05
Jun

How to can strawberry jam

strawberry jam

Spring signals the arrival of strawberry season here in North Carolina and one of my family's favorite treats is strawberry jam. We live five minutes from a large family farm that grows and sells strawberries locally. I paid $36 for three large buckets of strawberries that weighed out to about 18 pounds of fruit. While you might be able to buy strawberries on sale at a better price, chances are they aren't freshly picked that same morning. Nothing beats the flavor of fruit picked ripe from the field, the morning it is canned.

Canning jam doesn't take special equipment. Any heavy stock pot can be used for water bath canning. It helps to have a funnel with a wide spout specifically for pouring the jam into canning jars. It also helps to have a jar lifter, but heavy grilling tongs will also work. Otherwise, all you need is fruit, sugar and canning jars.

Thu
23
May

Carnival of Financial Planning 5/22 Edition

aquarium

Welcome to the May 22 edition of the Carnival of Financial Planning. I'm sorry for the late posting, but there was a small problem with the code. Thanks to Don for fixing everything up beautifully. There are some terrific posts for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

BUDGETING AND ECONOMICS

Jules Wilson @ Fat Guy,Skinny Wallet writes A Recap of April 2013 for Fat Guy – My Worst Month EVER!!! - April was my worst month both physically and financially in well over a year! Find out what happened and what I’m doing about it.

Tue
21
May

Travel reward perks that pay off

france

Our typical vacation includes relaxing on a beach located along the beautiful coastline of our home state of North Carolina. Travel reward perks rarely come into play, so I haven't spent a lot of time accumulating them or joining programs and applying for credit cards that offer perks and rewards. I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Europe and found out just how much I would have enjoyed some of these benefits.

Thu
09
May

Friday Finds: Great reads in personal finance May 9 edition

Italy

May is a busy month. If you have young children you're scrambling to find camps and daycare to fill the summer months. If you have older students it is a time for proms, final exams and graduations. We fall into the latter category. Our oldest is getting an apartment in her college town and has an internship in her field that is located in nearby city. Our youngest is graduating from our local performing arts high school. May has been filled with two proms, final dance concerts, AP exams, our oldest moving home and moving out. All this and we're only 9 days in!
Thank goodness there are so many helpful tips and secrets for saving time and money offered up by excellent bloggers in the personal finance community. Here are some of our favorties from this week.

Sat
27
Apr

Cheap exercise equipment for home workouts

Cheap home workout equipment

If you're having a hard time fitting a gym workout into your schedule or your budget, there are plenty of inexpensive workout accessories you can buy to help you stay fit in the comfort of your own home. There are also a multitude of web, phone and ipad apps that offer workout routines and supportive communities to help keep you motivated.
When I was single and in my twenties, I worked out every morning and ran twice each day. It was easy because I had very few demands on my time outside of work. As soon as the kids started arriving, my gym days were over. Now, in the time it would take me to drive to the gym and return home, I've almost finished my workout.

Tue
23
Apr

Deal Alert! Apple drops prices on refurbished 2nd & 3rd gen cellular iPads

iPad

Apple has cut prices on refurbished 2nd and 3rd generation cellular iPads by $50. The price drop applies to all iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G and the 3rd Gen iPad + Cellular regardless of storage capacity. This discount does not apply to the Wi-Fi only versions of these iPads.

Fri
19
Apr

Friday Finds: Great PF Posts from April 19

evening sky

Our search this week for interesting readings in the personal finance community was not a disappointment. It's interesting to visit all of the different sites to pick our favorites for the week. We're new enough we haven't settled on a short list of blogs to read. I'm not sure I want to because we might miss some gems from smaller sites and newcomers.
Celebrating Financial Freedom warns us against using a band aid to solve our financial problems when what we need is a tourniquet. 
Compounding Returns offers tips for keeping our identity safe online.

Tue
16
Apr

10 Fun and cheap staycation ideas

staycation ideas

If a trip out of town is financially out of reach this summer your family can still enjoy a wonderful vacation week doing things at home or around the city in which you live. The following are just a few staycation ideas that can bring the entire family together.

Camp out

Pull out the tent that's gathering dust in the garage and find the perfect location in your own backyard. After pitching the tent let your kids bring out their pillows and sleeping bags. Then play some outdoor games. As evening approaches, gather up your flashlights and fire up the grill. If local laws allow it, build a campfire for toasting marshmallows. End the night by sharing age appropriate stories around the campfire or glowing flashlights.

Sun
14
Apr

Recipes for Broke People: Turkey Cranberry Loaves

cranberry loaves

This recipe for little cranberry loaves has been a family favorite for years. My brothers and I loved it when we were kids and both of my daughters love it.My mother made the loaves with ground beef while I use ground turkey to save on fat content.
Preparation takes a little bit of planning since one ingredient is cooked rice. You can cook the rice in advance to make it easier to to throw it all together after a busy day.
Most of the ingredients can be found in the average pantry or refrigerator, so for the cost of one pound of ground turkey and a can of whole cranberry sauce, you can serve a delicious and filling meal. The recipe yields five mini loaves or you can make four slightly larger loaves to satisfy bigger appetites.

Little Turkey Cranberry Loaves

Ingredients

Sat
13
Apr

Frugal Gardening Tips: Starting Seeds Indoors

frugal gardening tips

Whether you have a few vegetable plants growing in containers on your patio or a large garden covering acres of land, you can save money and grow healthier plants by starting seeds indoors.
I started gardening 20 years ago when I grew vegetables in two tiny strips of dirt on either side of our patio attached to a rental townhouse. Now, with four acres to garden, I grow most of the produce my family eats in a year and have enough for family and friends. I start seeds indoors beginning in February and save hundreds of dollars each year by not buying mature plants from the local nurseries.

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