Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Gas up, hit the road and see the USA!

Spring is a good time for a road trip, anytime is a good time actually.  If you are planning on driving a lot you may have to take into consideration that the price of gas has not only jumped up, it has skyrocketed up! 

Not that long ago we were paying a little over a dollar, and now it is almost up to $2 and it is probably higher in other places.  But, we did get used to those high prices before and it didn’t seem to stop travelers, so don’t let it hold you back.  Try to save on gas anyway you can….such as:

  • The grocery store we frequent gives gas bonus points.  For every $100 you spend you get 10 cents off a gallon of gas.  The more food you buy, the faster your gas points go up.  Our last redemption we saved 50 cents a gallon less than the retail price.  They allow you 20 gallons, anything over that is regular price.
  •  We double dip on those savings since we charge gas to our Discover Card which pays us cash back.  In this competitive area many banks give cash back awards for using their credit cards.  Anyway you can save money is a good thing.
  • Use a site such as to find the lowest gas prices.  Get the app for your phone so you can find the best gas prices along your route.  A few minutes of planning can save you in the long run.
  • Some gas companies such as Shell have programs you can sign up for to save a few pennies on a gallon.  Check to see if your local/favorite station has such a program.  Keep your tires properly inflated to save on gas.  The majority of cars do not need premium gas.  You are paying quite a lot more per gallon for that gas.

Supposedly the price is up because they are getting ready for the ‘summer blend’ and if that is true then prices should drop again.  If you have been planning a trip don’t put it off, go ahead with your plans and try to save in other ways.  Instead of eating fast food while traveling, pack a lunch to take with you.  It will be better for you and save money in the long run.

Don’t let the price of gas slow you down or hold you back!  Go ahead with your plans, hit the road and enjoy.  Don’t forget to take Fido with you!


Photo of dog belongs to AbbyG

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Raised Beds: Gardening the Easy Way

Over the last 15 years in Tennessee we have lived in 4 different homes and that means we have had 4 different size gardens.  We had a huge garden in our first home, a medium size garden then a much smaller one…our current garden is the smallest and it produces as much as we need plus more.

Three summers ago, when we moved in, we had someone build us a raised bed.  Our big mistake is that it is only three rows high.  If we had gone two more rows higher there would have been a lot less being over.  When you are our ages bending over for long periods of time is a killer!

2016 Lettuce Crop being planted

This raised bed garden is filled with mushroom mulch which came from a mushroom farm in Loudon County, TN.  We call it miracle dirt!  You can buy it by the bag at garden centers or at Lowe’s if you aren’t near a mushroom farm.

We don’t really know the chemical compounds of mushroom mulch, but we do know that we get enough veggies out of our little 8 x 16 raised bed for us and the neighbors.  The lettuce crop that we harvest is amazing and things grow fast!  We have no need to add any enhancers or feed the plants. 

Do we still get weeds?  Yes, unfortunately we do, that’s a given.  However, since the mushroom mulch is very soft it’s quite easy to get the weeds out.  You treat it just like any veggie garden, but you get better results.

If you are thinking about a garden and wonder if a raised bed is ‘good enough’, it is.  You can make it yourself, have one made or you can even buy raised beds online but they are expensive. 

Raised Bed last July, it is loaded with good stuff!

My husband planted lettuce before we had two frosts, he covered the plants, and we did manage to save a few and they are producing, we already had a fresh garden salad a few days ago.  The lettuce crop will go on for most of the summer.

We have carrots and Swiss chard and sweet potato planted so far.  We will be putting in a few tomato plants very shortly.  You can plant most any veggie, but remember corn wouldn’t do well unless your raised bed was very large!

First Garden Salad of the Season!

If you aren’t into growing your own salad but would prefer a flower garden, it would work for that too.  You can put one wherever you want and make it whatever size you need.  We have 8 acres but our little raised bed is perfect for us and it might be perfect for you too.

Here is a link with information to get you started and one more.

Photos belong to AbbyG

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Our wedding sources for photography, linens and more

Wedding update! The planning for my eldest daughter is on track. The gorgeous wedding gown from David's Bridal has lots of lace. Although it's a departure from what some brides are choosing, the stye suits her personality. We have to wait for a photo. She has forbidden me from posting photos anywhere until after the nuptials. Look for pictures after mid-summer.

You probably saw my post about bridesmaids' dresses a couple of weeks ago. We ordered them off of Amazon at a fraction of the cost of a dress shop. It's an unusual place to look for dresses, but it worked. We got a nice style at a price that fit the budget.

Our luck continues with photography. An e-friend is tasked with taking photos. I've admired his work for almost two years now and am looking forward to working with him in person. His prices are reasonable and the pictures on his website look great. What's not to be excited about? Here's his GooglePlus profile.

The all-important selfie station is ready to assemble thanks to help from another e-friend. We have official Mardi Gras beads from my YouTube friends at Modigazzi Travels. They are traveling the country in an RV and homeschooling their children in the process. Travel along with them on this channel.

Wedding reception linens are from Linen Table Cloth. We have 120 royal blue napkins, some white ones, table runners, table cloths and everything else you can think of. We discovered the value of investing in linens when my younger daughter married. We purchased several items and sold them as used after the reception. The end dollar amount was about the same as plastic and less than renting. Plus, another bride was able to have a beautiful wedding and it kept waste out of a landfill.

We're buying china this time in an effort to further reduce our carbon footprint. The pieces don't match, but they do look pretty together. Another 20 plates and we are finished. It will be a good feeling.

The nuptials will be exchanged in July. I will be posting more about wedding venues and the reception menu closer to time. We've also had calls about livestreaming from family and friends who can't come in and are investigating possible options. My camera will handle the job if the church wifi signal is strong enough for the link. We'll have more information on that later.