The Groundskeeper

Nov 212017
 

This post contains affiliate links.

As a pre-Black Friday warm up, Swagbucks is offering big cash back for shopping online at several of your favorite retailers right now! Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping.

In order to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you’re all set! Your cash back comes in the form of SB points, which you can redeem for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or get PayPal cash!

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site’s a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

Nov 202017
 

This is another post which was written, but never shared.  It was waiting for the time I could share before and after pictures.  HOWEVER, there never were any after pictures as it never got painted.  This particular item is still with us, in its original state of being stained.  Currently it sits next to the fireplace, holding various library books.  It is still an easy DIY project, if you are looking for something similar.  

Garbage day is not only for getting rid of trash in your house, but can also be a source for ‘new’ items.  Because we live in Small Town and it is, well, small, I do not go driving around town looking for items placed out by trash cans.  However, sometimes I spot something and stop to take a look.  There is also a sort of unspoken rule that if you do not want something you sit it out by the trash cans, or along the street in front of your house, at any point during the week and others will probably take it.

This is how I ended up with an old magazine rack.  While we do not have magazines around here, we do have a lot of newspapers.  Specifically, my husband’s newspapers. I get so tired of stacks here and there, never knowing which have been read and which have not.  Knowing that he loves reading them, though, I try not to get rid of something without asking him.

Initially when I saw this, I thought that perhaps I could clean it up and find a new home for it.  Then I thought of the newspapers and knew what its new purpose would be – a newspaper rack.  Then it sat on my washer for several months.  Even find that happening at your house?

Every time I went to do a load of laundry I contemplated what to do with the ‘new’ find – I did not want to leave it the wood color it was, as we already have a lot of wood in the house.  Black would show every little bit of dirt and dust, of which we have a lot here in this part of the country.  White would get dingy from fingerprints.  Finally, out of indecisivness I told my husband my plans and asked his opinion.

“Paint it green.”

“Okay, what kind of green?”

“You decide.  Just make it green.”

Well, that was easy.  Months of me thinking about it and it took him all of 10 seconds.  By the way, this is how our wedding colors were decided, I took him to the paint section in a store and told him to find colors he liked.  I was trying to involve him in the process, he just wanted it to be decided quickly.

I have never spray painted furniture before, though I have done so with some metal vents in our house.  I knew that with wood, especially an item that had already had a finish on it, there were more steps beyond: 1. wash, 2. Paint.  To the internet I went.  Here are some of the links I found helpful.

Furniture Makeover: Spray Painting Wood Chairs

http://www.bluecricketdesign.net/2009/07/furniture-refinishing.html

Nov 132017
 

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Several years ago I went from planning my meals with an excel spread sheet to using Plan To Eat.  I have never looked back.  Even those weeks where I, well, where I do not have an official meal plan I often use this site to reference my recipes while cooking.  It has been well worth the switch for me.

PLANNER – Copy Move Swap or Delete from Plan to Eat on Vimeo.

When I first began, it did take a bit of time to add in recipes and get to know the layout of the website. However, those first few hours have paid off big time. No longer do I need to go searching through books for recipes or looking for that “one paper I had yesterday”.

Plan to Eat is holding a Black Friday sale starting on November 24th.  If you have been thinking about trying an online meal planning site, this would be a great opportunity to do so.  At 50% off, this makes it less than $2 a month to help bring a bit of order to your meal planning.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to EatEven better, you can try it for free for your first 30 days.  However, the Black Friday pricing only comes around once a year.  If you wait till the end of you 30 days you will not be able to take advantage of this great sale!  What can you do then?  Sign up for the free trial, try it out for the next 10 days, if you think it is something you like sign up for a subscription.  At the end of your 30 days, your subscription will begin.

What if you already have an account, but it is not set to end till a different time of the year? You can still renew at this time, but the time will be added on to the end of your current subscription.

What if you do not think it is for you, but you know a sister/friend/coworker/neighbor who it would be perfect for?  You can purchase gift subscriptions for them.  What a great clutter free gift!

 

Nov 122017
 

This post contains affiliate links.

Thinking back to my childhood, I have vivid memories of Sunday lunches at Grandma’s house.  Cousins were there to play with when we were done eating, trees to climb, leaves to jump in, and games of ball to play in the field.  But the most welcoming memory was of the initial opening of the door – warm, delicious smells met you in the coziness of their downstairs.  Yes, there may have been too many people to fit around the table, but that did not matter. Everyone was there and good food was to be had. Not fancy, mind you, but food which was familiar and tasted of home. (We may have even had basically the same meal every week, though my memory does not contain that information.)

Even the cups used had their own smell.  They were nothing fancy either, plastic Tupperware cups which have lasted decades, survived use by many grandchildren and great grandchildren and great great grandchildren, and still look new.  Yet, the smell when you poured soda on top of the ice was something I associate with my grandparents’ house. No other drinking vessel has replicated that smell, it is unique to those cups.

Nourished, a memoir of food, faith & enduring love by Lia Huber follows a similar path – memories of the author’s the past associated with the foods which nourished her, both in body and in spirit.  Through her journey as a young college student, to making major life choices, facing a health crisis, searching for her place in this world, and now to the present, Lia Huber takes her readers on a path of finding her faith and understanding how food can be more than bland, thoughtless item put in front of you three times a day.

…food went from something I didn’t think about to becoming a pivotal part of my life. It was what brought me joy.  It was how I healed my body when doctors couldn’t.  It was how I related to people and gained deeper insight into my life’s purpose and the way I serve the world.

Nourished is not a recipe book, though the end of each chapter contains the recipe for a dish mentioned.  It really is more of a memoir of Lia Huber‘s life and how food and relationships influenced how she came to understand her place in this world.  The recipes shared contain fairly common ingredients which makes them very easy to replicate.  There were several I marked to try.

I was a bit surprised when the author began to talk about her faith in such a bold way.  It was not necessarily inappropriate for the story, but an aspect I was not suspecting.  At times it began to feel like it touched on some new age-ish ideals, though most of what Lia mentions is fairly mainstream Christianity.

Nourished really is a well-written story.  My attention was held from the first chapter and never waned throughout the rest of the book.  If you are looking for a well-flowing book some weekend, I would highly recommend Nourished by Lia Huber.  Who knows, you may find yourself in the kitchen recreating a recipe from your past or finding a new one to help nourish your soul.

 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Nov 112017
 

Most of the ebook links are for Kindle versions from Amazon.  These are NOT affiliate links.  Just trying to be helpful.  

The ebooks were free at the time I found them.  Please check before ‘purchasing’ them as things change quickly.  Also, I have not downloaded all the books so can not vouch for the quality of them all.

 school year 2015 2016 collage

This is another “I wrote it but forgot to publish it” post.  It is still very relevant, only now we are a few years past this point.  This list began as a way for me to keep track of the online resources we were using.

Here are several books I am reading with Jack, following Ambleside Online’s Year 1 curriculum.  I have most of these either in audio version or borrowed from the library.  My thinking was that I would see if we liked the books before actually buying them.  I am also continuing to look for the ones we will use the full term on ebay and at local library sales, as a few dollars for a book is cheaper than potential library fees.  It would also save on the hassle of having to return books only to then request them again.  But mainly, it was because when I started planning for the year, I was not looking to spend a whole lot of money.

Fifty Famous stories Retold by James Balwin

Here is a LibriVox recording of the book. And Version 2.

The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Waldo Burgess

I have not downloaded this book, but there may be no photos to accompany the wonderful text.

Here is a LibriVox recording of the book.

The Aesop for Children with pictures by Milo Winter (but without pictures)

Project Gutenberg – has pictures but I am not sure if you can put it on an ereader.

The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

Project Gutenberg version

LibriVox recording

book-cover-large

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

Project Gutenberg version.

LibriVox Version 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

Project Gutenberg version.

LibriVox Version 1 and 2.

Product Details

The King of the Golden River by John Ruskin

Project Gutenberg version.

LibriVox version.

Nov 102017
 

This post contains affiliate links.  If you sign up through one of these links, a small portion of your earnings will be credited back to me at no cost to you.  Thank you for helping support this website.


If you haven’t tried Swagbucks before, you can get a bonus $3 for signing up during November as part of their Three for Fall promotion.

Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

I use it myself, and I earned 4171 SB ($41.71) during the month of October.  My biggest earning activity was ordering replacement ink for my printer, which resulted in 700 SB being added to my total.  That was my only online purchase for the month, by the way.

The next 5 biggest earners were:

  • a group of missing credits from Discover activities
  • September’s Daily Meter bonus
  • a survey
  • a bonus for completing the above mentioned survey
  • another survey

Per category, I earned:

  • 1,168 SB from nCrave (videos, slideshows, and articles)
  • 786 SB from Discover activities
  • 700 SB from shopping online (the printer ink I previously mentioned)
  • 529 SB from Answer (surveys)
  • 452 SB from Other (this includes September’s Daily Meter Bonus, as well as SB from the Spin & Win wheel from October’s SWAGO game)
  • 127 SB from Watch (online videos)
  • 109 SB earned as bonuses
  • 106 SB from Mobile Watch
  • 79 SB from searching the internet
  • 65 SB from referrals
  • 48 SB from Swag codes
  • 2 SB from Play (online games)

I also redeemed SB for two gift cards – a $3 Amazon gift card and a $25 Amazon gift card.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $3 bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 12/1/17. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you want even more bonuses, you’ll get a $10 (1000 SB rebate) bonus for making your first shop purchase! That’s in addition to the SB you earn for every dollar you spend.

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real.  Swagbucks has been a blessing to us over the years, something which I have gotten better at the more I do it.

Not all activities are equal in ROI (return on investment) in regards to time.  Figuring out what works for you, at this time in your life, may take a bit of trial and error.  However, it can work.  You will not earn a full-time income from this, but it can give a nice bit of extra each month.

 

Nov 102017
 

 

Regular turning of your compost pile is one of those garden jobs that often is forgotten.  Turning your pile over does several things:

  1. Mixes the new items you have added to your pile with your older items.
  2. Allows air to get to items that may previously have not had it.
  3. Discourages pesky insects (gnats, flies, mosquitoes, etc.) from gathering and laying eggs by covering food scraps not yet decomposed. This is only an issue if your pile is near where people will be, and therefore they will be pesky.
  4. Speeds up the decomposition of your pile.  In other words, you will have compost that you can use faster.  (This is my favorite reason.)

If you are in a cooler climate, or just a down right cold area, you may have to wait till a warmer day. This is especially true if your pile is under snow or otherwise unable to be worked.

Nov 092017
 

This post contains affiliate links.  If you sign up through one of these links, a small portion of your earnings will be credited back to me at no cost to you.  Thank you for helping support this website.

It is that time of the year again, though it sure does not feel like it weather wise.  The calendar is telling me that I need to finalize my gift giving list.  Not only do we have several holidays approaching, but also a lot of birthdays happening in the next several weeks.

For several gifts, I know what I am going to purchase.  The others, well, they need to be finalized in the next few weeks if I want to reach my goal of having all the shopping done by the end of the month.

Swagbucks is offering double cash back at dozens of different stores (like Macy’s and Target) during their 2017 Holiday Sale. Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping.

You can even save on travel costs, whether car rentals, hotel stays, or air travel!

In order to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you’re all set! Your cash back comes in the form of SB points, which you can redeem for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or get PayPal cash!

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site’s a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

Nov 072017
 

This post contains affiliate links.  If you sign up through one of these links, a small portion of your earnings will be credited back to me at no cost to you.  Thank you for helping support this website.


The digital rewards site Swagbucks is celebrating Thanksgiving early with another big “Swago” promotion starting Monday, November 6th at 9am PT and running until Monday, November 13th! Swago is just like bingo, but in this case you’re filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online.

If you’re thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it, meaning you can get more gift cards faster.  So far this year I have been able to redeem for over $400 in gift cards by using Swagbucks!

Here are a few tips:
  • Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, completing a survey, or just visiting one of our popular stores!
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have until 12pm PT/3pm ET on Monday, November 13th to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value. Once you’ve achieved a pattern, the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • Each activity you successfully complete on your Swago Board will give you anywhere from 1-20 spins on the Spin & Win Wheel. PLUS, when you submit your board for a bonus you’ll get additional spins. The number of spins will depend on the pattern you complete. The wheel has all sorts of great prizes that you can win, and each spin is a winner!

The Spin & Win Wheel will be available all throughout Swago and you have until 11:59pm PT on Monday, November 16th to use all your spins.

In the month of October, I earned 347 SB ($3.47) from the Spin & Win Wheel.  These spins were the result of that month’s Swago promotion and were an unexpected addition to my total for that month.

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points – if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 500 SB bonus, which is enough for a $5 gift card from the retailer of your choice.

Click here right now and click “Join” to get started! If you don’t already have a Swagbucks account, you’ll be able to quickly sign up; PLUS, if you earn 300 SB before the first of next month, you’ll get a bonus 300 SB!