Dry Canning Mushrooms and Peppers

Our first attempt at dry canning dehydrated mushrooms and bell peppers. More is on the way, just need more canning jars. Both are leathery to crisp and tasty as a snack. Still getting the hang of the Foodsaver vacuum. The pineapple and avocados are in the freezer. Will most likely can some of the pineapple but will probably not dehydrate as it’s eaten too fast, like candy.

Dry Can Mushrooms and Peppers
Dry Can Mushrooms and Peppers

United States Presidents Study Kit

This is a great year to teach the presidents! Make it easy by using this United States Presidents Study Kit.

President Preview

Notebooking pages for each president, presidential portraits, and name cards are included for a fun way to teach the presidents! Use this resource for a memory game, flash cards, or for mini-reports.

Draw or glue a picture of the president onto the president worksheet. Presidential portraits are included for each president.

Create a matching game by printing the presidential portraits and the included name cards. Flip them all over, blank side up, and have students take turns trying to find a match.

After printing the presidential portraits, print the name cards on the back to use as flashcards. The name cards are not in order, as they are designed to print correctly on the back of the presidential portraits.

Have fun teaching the U.S. presidents by using this United States Presidents Study Kit.

6 Ways to Save for the Holidays

For some, the holidays can be a challenge financially. Here are six great ways to make sure you stay on track with your budget.

1. Get free shipping – Every December there is a free shipping day with approximately 1000 merchants with delivery by Christmas Eve. Visit freeshippingday.com for more information.

2. Plan for the extras – Remember to factor in postage and gift wrap when purchase gifts. Don’t forget tape too! Also, a great way to save on wrapping paper is to buy after the holidays for next year.

3. Get discount gift cards – Check out Gift Card Granny or Plastic Jungle to buy gift cards for less than their face value.

4. Pay with cash – It is easier to track your spending when you use cash and it keeps you from overspending because when you’re out of cash, you can’t buy anything more!

5. Chart your spending – Write down each person you want to buy a gift for. Whenever you have purchased a gift for someone, write the item and price next to their name. This helps you remember who you have already bought a gift for as well.

6. Follow Couponing to Christmas – Coupon to Christmas with me by clicking on the Couponing to Christmas icon on my sidebar to the right to see all of the great gift deals!

Happy shopping!

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3 Ways to Cook Up Apples

A local grocery store had Gala apples on sale for $0.37 per pound!! Needless to say I bought about 15 pounds! What do you do with 15 pounds of apples? Here is what we will be eating for weeks to come:

– Apple jelly
– Dried apples
– Apple pies

Now I am sure there are tons more ways to use fresh apples, but these three will best serve us. Here is how to prepare apple jelly, dried apples, and our apple pie recipe.

Apple Jelly
You will need:
1 – Ball No-Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
Fresh apples to yield 4 cups prepared, about 16 medium apples
4-6 Half Pint Jars with Lids and Bands

Optional:
Up to 3 cups sugar
Up to 1 cup honey
Artificial sweetener to taste

Follow instructions inside Ball No-Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin

Dried Apples
You will need a food dehydrator to make these and as many apples as you want!

Peel and core apples. Slice apples in to rings and place onto dehydrator. Turn on dehydrator and let dry overnight. *Tip: It is very important to get all of the peel off the apple because when the peel dries it becomes very sharp and can cut your mouth.

Apple Pie
You will need:
3-4 large apples
1 Tbs. Cinnamon
2-3 packets artificial sweetener
2 uncooked pie crusts
Butter

Peel, core, and dice apples. Toss them in a bowl with cinnamon and sweetener. Pour into bottom pie crust. Top with pats of butter. Lay second pie crust on top and seal edges. Poke top crust with a fork a few times. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

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Homemade Flour Tortillas

The plan for dinner? Soft tacos. I just knew I had flour tortillas in the freezer. So I got all of the other ingredients ready for a “make your own” style flour tortilla night.

I looked in the freezer. No tortillas!

What to do? To the Internet I go! I found this great flour tortilla recipe that I have been using ever since:

Flour Tortillas

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup warm water or milk

1. Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.
2. Cut shortening into dry ingredients. (I have found a food processor works wonders!)
3. Add milk or water, working mixture together until a sticky ball forms.
4. Wrap in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.
5. Divide into 8-10 ball (for small tortillas) or 6-8 balls (for large tortillas). Cover with a damp cloth.
6. Lightly dust work surface with flour and roll out each ball into a circle or oval about 1/4 inch thick. Don’t roll the dough out more than once or the tortillas will be tough.
7. Heat a dry griddle or non-stick skillet over high heat for 5 minutes. Cook the tortillas for 30 seconds on each side, or until the dough looks slightly dry and wrinkled, and brown spots appear. Do not overcook or they will be hard. Butter and roll up and wrap in a damp towel to keep warm. Serve warm.

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How I Use ExtraCare Bucks

A note on how I spend my ECB’s: I will only spend as many ECB’s as I earn so I won’t ever “lose” ExtraBucks. But if I can whittle my total down with coupons so I don’t have to use as many ECB’s as I’m earning, then I “earn” ExtraBucks.

For example, if a bottle of shampoo costs $3.00, but you earn $3.00 ECB’s when you buy it, then I justify using $3.00 ECB’s on that shampoo when I buy it. But if I have a coupon for that shampoo, say $1.00 off, then my total would only be $2.00, so I only have to spend $2.00 ECB’s, but I still earn the $3.00 ECB’s. That is how you make ExtraBucks, essentially making money (ECB’s are as good as cash at CVS!).

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7 Ways to Raise a Money-Smart Kid

As frugal parents, naturally, we want our kids to be smart about money too. Here are seven easy ways to raise a money-smart kid!

1. Expose your pre-schooler to cash

By showing money to kids, they get a better understanding of what you are trying to teach them. Try playing “bank” or “store” for further understanding in a fun way.

2. Ditch the “replace it” attitude

When a toy breaks, have you ever heard your child say, “it’s ok, we can get another one”? When that moment comes, think of it as a learning time. Let them know that it costs money to replace a broken item. Replace that attitude with a “waste not” attitude. Let your child help donate items they no longer use, or have them “earn” a new toy by helping with chores.

3. Encourage delayed gratification

I cannot say enough how many times my mother taught me this. If I saw a toy in the store that I wanted, she would tell me that I would have to earn it. And I did! By doing chores, she would pay me a little here and there so I could buy the toy myself. I also took better care of things I bought myself because I understood I would have to save up again if it broke or got lost.

4. Talk about it

Some parents never talk about money in front of their kids. My mom did, but only to say that we couldn’t afford this or that new thing that I wanted. This helped me to understand that I couldn’t have everything that I wanted. By not talking about money, kids may grow up thinking a debit card never runs out of money and that if something breaks then you can just go buy a new something. Explain where money comes from and that it can (and will) run out if you aren’t careful about what you spend it on.

5. Be a role model

If you want your kids to be money-smart, they need to see you be money-smart. When you go to the bank to make a deposit, take them with you and explain what you are doing. If you are donating or volunteering, get your kids involved too.

6. Practice, Practice, Practice

Make some pretend money and play “store” or “bank”. Let your kids pick out a piggy bank to keep up with the money they are saving. Even if they don’t have an allowance, coins they find on the street or in the couch cushions could go right into the piggy bank when they understand the value of saving money.

7. Tell stories, not lectures

If you start lecturing about the importance of saving money, your kids will probably zone out pretty quickly. Instead go to your local library about pick out some books about saving money. For a start, try out “The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money” or “The Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense,” both by Stan and Jan Berenstain.

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