Feb 132017
 

Chickens in Pen 2

I am continuing to go through draft posts, things I had started and not finished.  While this is a few year old, the topic is as relevant today as it was then … well, except I do not live in the same area any more … I may have to make contentions with others and start my own Farm Market Swap this year.

Last week my friend sent me an inviataion for this year’s Farm Market Swap.  Now to come up with ideas of what to take.

Last year I was not sure what to expect, so I took several of most things I canned.  Of course I left what we needed to make it through this year.  Turns out I took way too much.  Guess to much is better than not enough.

This year I decided to not take as much stuff.  Instead I will take a bit of two or three things.  To keep it interesting for everyone I am looking for things that are a bit more unusual.

Here are some ideas I have come across:

Chocolate Cherry Sauce (she talks about how this is not a low acid)

Chocolate Raspberry Sauce

Blackberry Syrup

*********************************************************

In the end I made Blackberry Syrup.  I made so much we are still using it on pancakes and waffles.  That is, we are using it once I remember to get out a new jar when the current one is empty.

The Chocolate Raspberry Sauce is something I tried, but chose not to take.  It came out too thick and not raspberry enough for my tastes.

blackberry bushes bloom

When we moved, the idea of doing anything like this seemed like an impossible feat.  What has happened this past week, though, has changed my thinking on this.

Friday, Jack and I joined a group of home schoolers for a party.  While the kids were playing, we mom began talking.

As it turns out, not only have we been blessed to live in an area with other CM home schoolers, but also ladies who like to garden, sew, cook, raise animals ….  by the fall, I think I may be ready to try something like this with these women.  Of course, others are always invited.  The more the merrier.

 

Have you attended something like this before?  What were your experiences?

Feb 092017
 

This post contains affiliate links.  Prices are constantly changing, but these were the prices when I first found them.

Growing Through Reading

Here are 3 ebook deals happening right now, all for under $3 each, to help satisfy your gardening desires. Or maybe to help you begin a new project or learn something new.  Just like plants, our brains and souls need stimulation and nourishment in order to grow.  Reading does this in so many way – fiction or non-fiction, electronically or on paper, in your main language or one you are trying to learn – reading not only  helps you learn new things (or take you to far away places), it also helps your brain grow and strengthen.

While I would love for you to spend hours reading through old post on this site, here are 4 books I think you would prefer. (While these are also available in paper versions for a bit more, the links below are to the ebook versions.)

Square Foot Gardening with Kids: Learn Together: – Gardening basics – Science and math – Water conservation – Self-sufficiency – Healthy eating (All New Square Foot Gardening)

” In Square Foot Gardening with Kids, Mel reveals all of the tips, tricks, and fun projects he has used over the decades in one of his most cherished pursuits: teaching youngsters to build and grow their own kid-sized SFGs.”

Square Foot Gardening was one of the pivoting influences to get me into using raised beds.  While I still mix several various methods in my gardening, it is easy to see the influences this has had.


Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency: DIY Projects to Get Your Self-Reliant Lifestyle Started

Inside are 25 various projects, ones that you do not necessarily need a lot of room for, but which could benefit you.  Personally, I think the cider press looked very useful, something I wish I had done 5 years ago. Now that I have more free brain cells to use, this looks like a good project to do with the kids. (They love to work and build with wood.)

If I am going to grow herbs, it would be nice to be able to dry them … and I am going to need a new compost bin, no matter which home we move into (none seems to have one) ….


Gardening for the Homebrewer: Grow and Process Plants for Making Beer, Wine, Gruit, Cider, Perry, and More

“Learn how to grow, dry, and store fresh hops. Or go off the beaten path and grow everything you need for your first gruit, cider, perry, or fruit wine. Have just a balcony or a windowsill? No problem! A variety of plant recommendations will suit gardeners of all types, even ones with limited space.”

When I was younger, I would admire the shelves of jars, filled with these interesting round things floating on top of liquid.  Later on I realized they were grapes.  Still later (okay, a few decades) I realized that perhaps she was making wine.  Growing up in a fairly teetotaler household, that was the last thing on my mind. 😉

I also had an uncle (same side of the family) who would often brew his own drinks.  I was in awe of how he knew to even do that.  Then I came across books like this one and realized how he knew what to do.  While some of the knowledge was passed down from one generation to the next, or local culture, other bits came from books like this.

Please enjoy responsibly.

Feb 062017
 


Adventures In Gardening yellow flower

This post contains an affiliate links and my honest experience with this particular product.

Taking chances is something gardening is all about.  It is what makes it an adventure.  Even if you never try a new technique or plant, you are taking a chance.  Gardening is not for the faint of heart.  Whenever you plant a flower, spread seeds, add a tree to your yard … you take a chance on the weather cooperating, the soil providing nutrients, deer not eating your plants … well, you get the idea.

During the 2014 spring season, I decided to take a chance on a new gardening product, Roll Out Flowers.  This particular product may not have been new to everyone else, but it was something I had not tried before.  I had heard of making plantable paper with seeds, of using damp paper towels to help spread small seeds evenly in areas, but never had I purchased such a product.  However, the kids were excited to try this and see the results.
front flower bed sunflower packet

The concept was simple, roll out the product and water.  In a given amount of times, flowers were supposed to appear.

As we lived in a place with almost constant breezes or gusts of wind, I added a bit of mulch to the top, helping hold it in place.  Later, more was added as the sun would quickly dry out the material otherwise.

I was tempted to bury it under a thin layer of mulch, but wanted to follow the directions as stated.

front flower bed may 6 2014

front flower bed 2 may 6 2014

The kids were so excited to see what would happen, checking every day to see if there were any new seeds.  Unfortunately, this method did not work for use.  Whether it was due to old seeds (I bought it during the off season) or the sun drying it out too much,  nothing sprouted from this material.  Eventually it was removed from the flower bed and replaced with other traditional seeds.

I have tried the same method with other products, and other flower types, with some success.

Have you tried this product or similar?  What results did you end up getting?

Jan 282017
 

thinking oustide the garden box books collage

This post contains affiliate links to books I would love to read this week, instead of washing the dishes or doing laundry or, well, you get the idea.  Perhaps instead you can read them and let me live vicariously through you.  If you choose to do so, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the book.  Actually, I have read one of the books on the list this week, which is why it is on the list.  I loved it so much that I will probably read it again … once the dishes are washed and the laundry is done. 😉 Who am I kidding, I will fall asleep tonight reading by my book light, as I always find time somewhere in the day to read at least a little something.

Push the Zone: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics (The Good Guide to Gardening Book 3) by [the Good, David]

Push the Zone: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics (The Good Guide to Gardening Book 3)

If you are looking for a new challenge or adventure in gardening, this might be the thing for you.  Meeting a plants needs leads to the results you are desiring, even if you have to artificially fulfill those needs.

My mother-in-law was great at this, being able to start and grow fruit trees several zones north of where they ‘should’ grow.  How?  She understood the need of the plant and was able to meet it.  Yes, it took a bit of extra attention.  However, she was able to reap the rewards – fruit she would otherwise have had to purchase at the store, shipped in from another country usually.

You might already know one side of your house has frost longer in the day than another part, or that the bushes on a particular side of your house grow larger than their counter parts around the corner, or perhaps you have found a particular plant will not grow at all in your yard, but the neighbor up the hill grows them so much they are a weed.  The difference could be as simple as a difference in microclimates.

I personally saw this happen with two different blackberry bushes, planted 3 feet apart.  One grew several feet higher each year than the other, due mainly to how far away from the wall of the house it was.  It happened to get an hour or so more of sun each day; everything else about their site (soil, water, impact of human traffic, etc.) was the same.  The extra sunlight created enough of a difference in the growth, and as a result the crop and spread of the second plant was much greater than the first.

Instead of taking the harder route, like I have done in the past, learn from someone who has already put in the work and research.

The author does give a disclaimer in the introduction: he can’t help you grow limes in a Minnisota backyard or find the girl of your dreams; but it may help you grow the desired plant that would grow if you were only a few hundred miles south.

All the Presidents' Gardens: Madison's Cabbages to Kennedy's Roses-How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America by [McDowell, Marta]

All the Presidents’ Gardens: Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses—How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America

Are you tired yet of hearing me rave about this book?  Yes, I liked it that much.

Not only did I learn about the gardens found on our presidents’ lawns, but also about gardening history, history of our country, and an appreciation for life through the past several hundred years.

Can you imagine being able to walk across the lawn of the White House?  Let alone assuming it was the public’s right to do so?  How about the President’s family keeping the family milk cow on the front lawn? Or being expected the President’s family to personally host and cook for all dignitaries and visitors, usually from their own gardens.  Things have definitely changed over the years.

The ebook version of this book is only a few dollars right now.  This would make a great clutter free, early Valentine’s Day present for yourself, or a gardener in your life. 😉

Pepper Growing: Everything You Need to Know About Peppers Growing by [Anderson, William]

Pepper Growing: Everything You Need to Know About Peppers Growing

I miss the blessing of having frozen peppers available on hand; ones I was able to either grow of buy at a local produce auction, straight from the grower.  This fact is driven home constantly as I see the current price of peppers at our local grocery stores – $1-$1.50 per pepper!

With the warmer than normal winter and a move to a warmer climate, my body is screaming “It is spring! Get planting!”  However, I know winter is not yet done.  Then I saw this book and read the begging of the introduction, “I will tell you in the following pages about different types of peppers and how you can easily grow them indoors.” (emphasis is mine)  Wait, what?!  Grow them indoors?!  Now this is definitely making my gardening brain think outside the garden box in terms of which plants I can grow in the midst of winter, inside my house.

This 37 page ebook is currently free if you have Kindle Unlimited. Otherwise it is just over $5 (i.e. 5 store-bought peppers) for an ebook and also available in paperback.  There are currently no reviews, though for a price of a few peppers, it may be worth it to check out.

And yes, my brain often thinks in gardening currency, especially if I happen to be selling or purchasing produce at that time.

Jan 202017
 

This post contains affiliate links to some great reads.

growing through reading 3 books collage

The love of books and the love of gardening are not mutually exclusive, as Beatrix Potter successfully demonstrated. To that extent, here are three books which caught my eye recently.  They are each of vastly different garden topics and aspects.

Something they all have is common is they are available both in print and ebook versions.  These are also not free books, though they sound very much like something that would be worth paying for.  They also all have over 100 raving reviews, as in 98% give them 4 or 5 stars, which can often be hard to find.

The world of gardening books has taught me a lot these past few years, and these three books promise to add to that knowledge.  They are all going to be added to my reading list and hopefully consumed soon.

Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children's Tales by [McDowell, Marta]

Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales

The book is divided into 4 sections; a biography of Beatrix Potter, a description of her garden through the season, a guide to visiting her gardens, and a plant list. I was familiar with Potter’s illustrations in her children’s books, but was unaware of her other artwork.. She began doing botanical illustration as the age of 10. In addition to some of Potter’s artwork, there are also photographs of Potter and her gardens, so photos taken by Potter herself and some more contemporary. I enjoyed reading a biography that did not attempt to sully the person’s reputation. This book made me want to get out in my own garden and visit Potter’s gardens if I should visit England in the future.

And the review from Not Yet Old makes me want to visit this book.

Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use by [Gladstar, Rosemary]

Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use

As I look ahead to a year of growing a mobile garden, herbs were at the top of my list of plants.  I love having fresh ones to use for cooking.  To be honest, I have not explored the material on herbs and their usage as much as I could have.  I knew they could be used for medicinal purposes, but have never tried it.  This sounds like it would be just the thing to have on hand for gaining such knowledge.

The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-scale Organic Farming

A great reminder that one does not need vast acres to have a successful garden or farm.  Over the years I have found the best results when I look to non-traditional methods, those who look to the natural process and try to mimic it rather than fight against it.

The thing about this book that caught my eye was this sentence in the description, “Growing on just 1.5 acres, owners Jean-Martin and Maude-Helène feed more than two hundred families through their thriving CSA and seasonal market stands and supply their signature mesclun salad mix to dozens of local establishments.”  (emphasis is mine) Imagine what we can do in our small back yard garden for our family, or even perhaps our neighbors.

Since the move to a new place with a different flow and culture, I have had serious doubts about having a road side stand again.  And to be honest, I doubt I will.  I enjoyed having it, getting to know our neighbors and blessing them with produce, but it does not look like it would work as well in this setting.  It was nice to have a bit of extra income during the summer months.

Perhaps I will visit the idea again, once we are no longer renting, and do something similar to what is described in the book.  Till then, I will continue to grow in my knowledge and from the experience of others.  You  never know what you might learn.

Jan 102017
 

This post contains affiliate links.

At the end of 2016/beginning of 2017 I did not write down official New Year’s Resolutions.  Instead, I spent December reflecting back on this past year and all the craziness it held, trying to get a grasp of it all:

  • the conclusion of a 2-year home remodel, which I initially thought would take 6 months (we saved thousands of dollars, though in exchange it took a lot longer)
  • my husband graduating with his MBA, going to class at night while working during the day
  • the subsequent job change
  • parenting for several months on my  own
  • and a move to a place with no current support network.

Not only did we move, but we moved into a rental house; a temporary situation we decided previously was a good decision while we learn the area.

Reflecting back on the year, there was a lot to take in.  My reality from this time a year ago till today is vastly different.  A year ago, I could not have even guessed we would be at the point we are now.

How am I then to look forward a year and know anything at all about what will happen?

I can’t.  I couldn’t if I tried.

5-love-languages-of-children

What I can do is think of habits or areas of life I would like to work on, setting myself up for success, hopefully, no matter what the future holds.  Here are a few of the areas I would like to work on this year:

  • Putting the “home” part back into “homemaking”.  Increasing the laughter in our home, decreasing the ‘stuff’, making it feel calm and uncluttered, these are all areas which need improvement and would provide beneficial results in other areas.
  • Being more consistant in use of my early morning hours – writing blog posts, visiting Swagbucks, getting a load of laundry ready to begin washing, etc.  Along with this would be going to be at a decent time, so as to be able to wake up at 5 a.m.  While it may seem early to some of you, I really do like those early hours better than the late one; I am more productive during those times.
  • Planning ahead consistently for those normal life events – whether this is a meal plan, a school lesson plan for the month, or a plan for when to do laundry, having these aides in place will reduce the amount of decisions I need to make every day.  I will gladly take any extra brain power I can get.  My consistancy this past year with these areas would ebb and flow, depending on what else was weighing on my emotions and calendar.  I want to get back to setting aside certain days or times for these events, rather than doing them as they happen to pop into my head.
  • Challenging myself to do some of the things which have scared me, things outside my comfort zone but which really are more ‘new’ than ‘scary’.  Or even things I have for too long said, “I am not good at that … This is an area I am really bad at..”  While I may never be someone to dive to the deepest trench in the ocean or become president (of the country or of a large business), that does not mean I should not continue to challenge myself.
  • Be more optimistic in terms of how I view myself.  Okay, maybe “optimistic” is not the appropriate word; what I do know is that I often find myself referring to negative aspects of my personality or apologizing for things which others may not even notice.  Instead of working to improve, I am so focused on my failures I miss what is going past.  Instead of sharing sunshine and flowers with others, I am focused on how I scuffed the floor last time.  Who cares about the floor?!  Move on, already!  Open the windows and let some sunshine in!  (Enough, I will stop with the exclamation marks.)

In general, I want to get back to the roots of who I am, of who I want to be.  That is something I feel I have lost these past several years while feeling, instead, like I was only trying to survive the day/week/season of life.

While I hesitate to call anything a “New Year’s Resolution”, to set a theme for the year, or to give myself yet another thing to feel guilty over, there are items which happen to be starting now.  This is in large part to due to the timing of the move, no more home remodel going on, or that fact that my normal month to feel this way (November) had enough of its own going-ons that it did not need any more.

One of the items under “Challenging myself to do things I said I couldn’t” is to get down a routine with Swagbucks, and other similar sites, in order to not only pay for this next year’s home school supplies, but also the cost of hosting this blog and gardening supplies, albeit limited compared to years’ past.  I do not have set number on hand right at the moment, though I will begin to gather them soon.  What I do know is that all together this will come to a few hundred dollars.  ($100 being the equivalent of 10,000 points, called SB).

Whatever activities I choose to do, in order to earn SB, will have to fit into my normal life.  I can not take an hour or two every day to sit clicking a screen, babysitting a point counter.  This is where having a smart phone has helped.

rotary phone with border

Years ago, my husband suggested we switch from our flip phone to a ‘smart’ phone, I bulked.  We no longer were on a set contract with our service provider, the phone we had made good calls, and if I wanted to see the internet, I would use a computer. “If someone wants me, they can call.  At least they should be polite enough to think me worthy of a few minutes talk time rather than a quick note written in bad english.” (a.k.a texting)  Why spend hundreds of dollars for something I found caused people to be rude and annoying. I did not need a ‘smart’ phone.  I did not want a ‘smart’ phone.

Then my husband came home with information about a phone service provider option.  All my reasons for not doing it began to pale in comparison to the cost savings.  We could save 60% on our phone bill. Each month.  No contract.

After discussions back and forth, running the numbers to see how long before we would be saving money, we became the owners of a ‘smart’ phone.  It took some time for me to figure out how this new gadget in my life might begin to work for me, rather than against me.  And, yes, texting has won me over for the most part.

Using my phone to help me earn and save money has been one of the best features I have enjoyed.  It has taken some time, but I have found things that work well for me.  I have also found things that did not work, but they are no longer on my phone and so I do not really remember what they all were. 😉

christmas-tree-baden-springs

Now that the holidays are over, a lot of us have gone into savings mode again as we rebuild our bank accounts from all that gift buying! Some of us have already started saving for the 2017 holidays! If you’re looking to extend your budget or just stay within it, Swagbucks is a great resource for that.

You’ve probably seen me write about Swagbucks a lot on here. It’s a site where you earn 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.

While you may not grow so rich you lose the sense of the value of a dollar, it can help ease your budget. Whether you use it to pay for today’s needs (utility bill, groceries, restaurant outing …) or tomorrow’s wants (rainy day fund, Christmas/birthday gifts, …)

To make the impact on your bank account even greater, you can earn a bonus when you initially sign up.

Here’s how you get your bonus:

1. Sign up using this link

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

3. If you spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* you’ll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you’ll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but you’ll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)!

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real.

So far this month, during the past 10 days, I have earned over $10 (1033 points).  This has been spread out between points earn for shopping online, a lot of video watching, several surveys answered, daily polls, bonuses for reaching daily goals, bonuses for finishing my Daily To-do list (on the left side of the home page), searching the web, and Swag Codes.

As I have begun to incorporate it into my daily routines, I have learned what works for me and what does not.  For example, I do better at finding surveys in the morning.  It also helps for me to start with a search first thing, followed by the other items on the To Do list.  After that, I focus on watching SBTV on my phone, then short clips on other apps.
LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (Sony PlayStation 3, 2009)Combining earning from this month and some from last, I was able to redeem for a PayPal gift card, which was then used to pay for several items on Ebay. (The particular item shown definitely falls into the category of A Want.)  Of course, I clicked through on Swagbucks before finalizing the purchase on Ebay and will earn more SB back in the near future.  Every penny counts, and soon they begin to add up.

*You must receive your shopping SB before March 1st

Jan 092017
 

kids-garden

  1. Pick up discounted plants, bulbs, or seeds at the store.  After all, the house may take a while to sell and you could get in just a few more flowers or vegetables.
  2. Let the volunteer tomato plant grown and produce. Fresh tomatoes for the road is welcome any day.
  3. Visit the produce auction. You may not buy anything, but you can still visit and complain about the prices. “What?! Are the peppers made of gold?” Think of it as saying goodbye to what used to be.
  4. Mentally rearrange the annual flower plantings for next year.  “If a short trailing plant were added here ….”  Never mind that you will not be there to do anything about it, that is not the point.
  5. Add a perennial or bulb to a corner of the garden. While you may not be there to enjoy it next year, it could make someone else’s day a bit brighter. Think of it as an easy Pay-it-forward activity.
  6. Take a few seconds to glance through baskets and pots at yard sale.  Nothing may be bought, but it is still a pleasant hobby.  You never know when you might get some inspiration, and also reassurance of there always being pots and baskets at yard sales.
  7. Spend time weeding the flower bed. It may not matter next month if you pulled that last week, but it is a great way to deal with the stress going on now.  Even if the garage is filled with boxes, you will know something is in order.
  8. Process a batch of jelly.  I have to admit I did this activity, though for a specific reason.  There were several cups of zucchini in my freezer.  Not wanting to make a huge batch of muffins, I made some fresh zucchini jam to take to a Farm Market Swap.  While not all of it was swapped, it was a better use of the zucchini than tossing it in the compost pile.
  9. Slow down while driving, and glance at the potential treasures set out for free curbside. Dreaming does not cost you time or effort, and it for sure does not cost you moving fees.
  10. Feel guilty for not having planted more. This may be a personal issue which no one else deals with.  However, I really was feeling bad for not planting peas, etc.  Especially when it ended up being 5-6 months from the time I knew we were going to be moving “at some point” to the actual moving date.

While I could not foresee how long it was going to be before a move happened, and I did not have the extra time to take care of a garden, then guilt was still there.  At this point I need to focus on the good which came from this lack of gardening – using up items previously preserved as there were not free ingredients available, simplified meals, and finding new ways to save.  It also allowed me time to focus on other aspect of life.

Have there been gardening, or other, activities which you did even though you knew it was sort of a moot point?  Why did you continue to do them anyway?

Jan 022017
 

kids-garden

Having moved several times, always hours away from the previous garden, there are a few things which always automatically fall of the list of gardening activities.  While some items have to remain, after all you do not want to yard to look unkempt, here are 10 items gardeners should not do once they know they will be moving.

  1. Plan a huge garden. While they may not be able to completely avoid the urge to plant a garden, it will not be as big as previous years.
  2. Pay attention to frost dates. This is true, unless they are moving after the last frost date and want to get the most out of the garden they did plant.
  3. Pay attention to rain amounts. Again, true, unless they already planted a garden and are still reaping the benefits.  Otherwise, who cares if it rains enough to drown your tomato plants and set your peas back by a month. Or does not rain enough and would otherwise require watering to keep everything alive.
  4. Set up a watering system.  (see #3)
  5. Stress about weeds. Do not let the garden go to weeds, but there is no use trying to keep every single one away.  You will never get around to actually packing a box in preparation for the move.
  6. Go through existing seed packets, making note of what is missing for that year.  It may be easier to toss the whole lot, starting over again at the new garden.  Or, if you have a collection of heirloom seeds, do not worry about sorting them till you are preparing for the next growing season.  Seed packets do not usually take up a lot of room.  You would be better off spending your time learning about your new growing zone or soil.
  7. Inspecting pots, checking for holes and unusable pots. Unless it is an unusual pot, hold sentimental value, or already has a plant in it, you would be better off giving them away.  Unfortunately, I only followed this advice for half my pots.  Somehow the sneaky devils multiplied in my basement while I was looking at my canned goods.  While I tossed many, gave others away, and sold a few, I still ended up moving a fair amount.
  8. Spend hours looking through the latest gardening catalogs. It is too painful to realize you will not be taking advantage of the latest heirloom find or hybrid flower for the year.  Best if you just “slowly step away from the catalog” and think good thoughts about what you did last year.
  9. Scour curbside, looking for treasures to be re-purposed into trellises, containers, bird baths, garden sculptures, stepping stones, tunnels … I would think this is pretty self explanatory.  However, if you do not understand why, I suggest you take a look at moving costs.  Those ‘free’ treasures could end up costing a whole lot of your garden budget to move to a new location.
  10. Watch the latest in gardening television.  This is best left for reruns on rainy days once you get to your new place.  The urge to try out the latest project or solution will only delay you getting to your new garden.

Are there other gardening chores or habits you dropped once you knew a move was in the near future?

Dec 192016
 

This post contains affiliate links.
One of my favorite things about using Swagbucks are all the ways to earn points, called SB, which I can redeem for gift cards to some of my favorite retailers.

Getting rewards for searching the web through their search engine is an easy activity.  It is an activity I would be doing regardless; why not get rewarded for it?!

Every now and then they have “Collector’s Bills” worth SB points that you can collect by simply searching the web. Collect them all, and you get an SB Bonus! Once you’ve collected enough SB, you can redeem them for gift cards to stores like Walmart, Target, and many more!

Here’s all the information for this week’s Christmas Quenchers Collector’s Bills:

Search the web through the Swagbucks search starting Monday, December 19th at 12:01am PT/3:01am ET through Saturday, December 24th at 11:59pm PT/Sunday, December 25th 2:59am ET, and when you get a search win, you may get a special Collector’s Bill valued at either:

  • 5 SB

  • 7 SB

  • 9 SB

  • 15 SB

  • 24 SB

When you get a Collector’s Bill you’ll receive the value of the bill and the bill will be added to your “Collector’s Bills” ledger. Collect all 5 Collector’s Bills and you’ll instantly earn a 20 SB Bonus!

By either setting my search engine to default to Swagbucks, adding their tool bar to the top of my screen, or going to their site in order to perform a search, I can be adding to my SB total.  Each SB gets me closer to my goals for the up coming year.

Why not start the year off right, either paying off debt you have or saving ahead to avoid it?  Don’t wait for the New Year to begin working toward your goals.  Today is as good as any.  Besides, this method makes it even more fun!  I am pretty sure we could all do with a bit more fun in our lives.

Dec 182016
 

This post contains affiliate links and a great way for you to earn money towards your spring garden goals.

This past week, in the middle of home schooling, unpacking, cooking, and in general trying to calm chaos, I participated in Swagbucks’ Dashing Through The Dough Team Challenge.  It was a blast, even if my team did come in last.  I learned so much from the other participants, hearing their opinions on various ways to earn (or not) and being encouraged to keep going, even when it was obvious we were coming in last.

Not only did I get to meet new people, but I also added to my points, called SB.  I now have enough to redeem for a larger gift card, or two separate ones if I desire.  If I wait till the new month, I will have enough to redeem for 3 gift cards, as the first $25 gift card every month is reduced in points. (This works for most gift cards, though not for the PayPal ones.)

With the Team Challenge concluding, Swagbucks has begun a new challenge, another round of SWAGO.  This month’s Holiday Themed Swago offers a possible 400 SB ($4) Bonus!

What is SWAGO you ask? It’s a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks that rewards you with SB for completing everyday online activities. When you complete a task, watch that square change colors like a twinkling Christmas light. You can then redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you’ve never used Swagbucks, and missed last week’s team challenge, participating in SWAGO is a great way to learn how to use the site, and it’s a lot of fun!

Here’s what you need to know to get your 400 SB Bonus:

  • Swago will begin on Monday, December 19th at 8:01am PDT/11:01am EDT, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time 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.
  • The game ends Monday, December 26th at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

As most of my Christmas shopping is completed, and even gift exchanged, I am looking towards the new year.  My goals for earning SB are:

  • to reduce the cost of home school materials
  • save on our online grocery shopping
  • and purchase gardening materials.

In planning our move, I had to decide if it was worth moving certain items.  A fair amount of gardening things were either too worn or out of date (seeds from 2011? really?).  These were best tossed or passed along, with the idea of replacing them once we moved.

Completing daily actives and participating in promotions is a great way to earn a few dollars towards replacing those items … or buying myself a container of cappuccino mix to make coffee in the mornings.