Penny Pinching Peach

A place for those of us without the time or inclination to be "extreme" to indulge in a love of couponing & cooking, family & frugality, creativity & craftiness.


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Upcycled Trellises for Gardening

Stroller Trellis

Stroller Trellis

When my cucumbers started getting out of control, it never

Broken Stroller Trellis

Broken Stroller Trellis

occurred to me to go buy something to use as trellises. My first instinct was to scour our property for things to be used. I have used pieces of leftover fencing, unused animal cages, tree limbs rigged up and many other myriad random objects to trellis or stake plants with. This year my objects were a wee bit on the creative side.

Have you ever used a baby stroller as a plant trellis? It works great! We had this ancient stroller left outside on our property by a former resident and beyond safe use for it’s original purpose. We’d never bothered to haul it off, so I rolled it’s wobbling wheels on over to the end of my garden and started encouraging my cucumbers to climb. The photos illustrate the interesting results. My daughter loves it. She says our cucumbers are babies with their own baby carriage, and is eager to show off her baby cucumbers to anyone who may happen to be around. :)

Trellis From Yard Objects

Trellis From Yard Objects

I needed more than what the rickety stroller could handle on it’s own, so I went a-searching again. I cam up with a couple of leftover pieces of plastic yard edging, barely visible in the picture, and a black metal decorative tower thingamajigger. They both work well for the purpose, as you can see from their barely visible appearance in the featured snapshots.

What items have you upcycled, recycled or reused to trellis your trailing plants in the garden? In the spirit of sharing, this Kindle book The Upcycled Garden (only 99 cents!) shares over 50 ways to use “discarded” items in new ways for your garden. Check it out!

“Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”


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Amazon Special Registries

Holding Hands On Our  Wedding Day

Holding Hands On Our Wedding Day

Did you know that you can create online registries at Amazon.com for your special occasions, just like you could at a brick & mortar store? It’s very convenient for you and your friends, and offers a huge selection of items to choose from! There are also some great savings attached, which is probably the biggest attraction for a penny pinching mommy like me.

With your Amazon Wedding Registry, there are a few cool perks, such as a universal registry allowing you to add selections from sites other than Amazon and a 10% off gift after your wedding date for savings up to $100!!! You can register from anywhere you are, and your friends can easily shop via a site most of us are already familiar with. Win win!

With your Amazon Baby Registry, you are eligible for a 10% discount (15% if you are an Amazon Mom member) 30 days prior to your child’s due date (not available for 14 days after your application), 90 day return policy on Baby Store purchases, and can add to your wish list from sites all over the web. It is pretty neato!

Have you ever done an online registry? Do you plan to? I just did an in store registry for my wedding, and not much of one. I did some online for my babies, but didn’t know about this program with either of them. You can betcha I will next time around, though! This is a great deal! :)

 

“Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”


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This and That Infused Water

I’ve seen all sorts of blurbs online about this wonderful fad of making infused waters at home. Now, generally I’m not one to jump on the myriad bandwagons of fadhood, but in this case it seemed harmless. Since I need to drink a lot of water, love fruit, and always have mason jars floating around the house, I decided to give this particular fad a try. I have sampled a variety of different flavors, so I’ll tell y’all about it. Prepare yourself! ;)

Blueberry Lemon Infused Water

Blueberry Lemon Infused Water

My first test was blueberry lemon infused water. It was quite pretty, and made a truly refreshing beverage. I just sliced up a lemon, threw in a heaping handful of blueberries, filled my quart jar with water, shook it up and stuck the whole concoction into the fridge overnight. When I tried it in the morning, it was a big thumbs up. I was able to refill using the same fruit four times over the course of two days. The fourth time the flavor was starting to fade, so I just ate the blueberries and called it good. :)

Key Lime Infused Water

Key Lime Infused Water

My next try was key lime. I quartered two key limes, squeezed them into the jar, and filled it up with water. I also added two tablespoons of sugar melted into some hot water, because I figured it would be way too tart and kinda icky on it’s own. I think I was right, but it would’ve been smarter healthwise if I had just used a tablespoon of honey or something. :) It didn’t make it sweet at all, just cut the sour a bit. This one only worked for two refills, but may’ve worked for more and a stronger flavor with a large lime or more key limes. I liked the blueberry lemon better, but this still had a nice little zest.

Mango Infused Water

Mango Infused Water

My third flavor to check out was mango. I sliced up half of a mango into my jar, filled it with water and shook it, letting is sit overnight. It had a pleasant mellow mango flavor to it that lasted through a couple of refills. Try it!

Blackberry Infused Water

Blackberry Infused Water

My fourth tester to share was blackberries, since I’d just picked a big jug full of blackberries and wanted to see how it was. It came in a close second to the blueberry lemon on the taste test and the water color was a beautiful purple. By this point, my sweet husband had taken note of my new fun water trick and bought me a really pretty fruit infusing water bottle off the clearance rack at Walmart, as seen in the photo. I love it! It made it so simple, and I could take it anywhere and keep adding water as it got about half empty throughout the day for continuous lightly fruity refreshment. Infusing water with the mason jars was great, but using the nifty little Cool Gear Flavor Infuser 28oz BPA Free-red* with the insert and the top that snaps shut so my kids can’t dump it all over me took it to the next level, honey! :) (The fact it was on clearance added to his thoughtful hubby points. LOL)

Cucumber Key Lime Infused Water

Cucumber Key Lime Infused Water

My final creative flavor combination to share is cucumber and key lime together. I took a few thin slices of cucumbers and put them in the bottom half of my infuser insert in my Cool Gear Flavor Infuser 28oz BPA Free-red*, then quartered two key limes, squeezed them into the cup and threw the quarters into the infusion insert. Next morning, I had a drink best described as “fresh”. The flavor was surprisingly strong in a pleasant way. I’d thought of cucumber because I’d seen a few places that cucumber water could boost metabolism and aid in weight loss. Can’t hurt, huh? ;)

To sum it up, I’d definitely recommend doing your own infused waters of you like a little flavor in your beverages and are trying to drink more water. Don’t expect it to be as strong of a fruity taste as juice, but it is very pleasant and certainly makes me reach for my water a little more frequently than always drinking it plain. Adding a bit of citrus like lemon or lime to whatever fruit definitely seemed to amp up the flavor of the “host fruit”, from my little experiments. Play with the flavors. It’s fun! I’m thinking of trying pineapple or peaches next. What fruit would you try to infuse first?

*Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


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Decorate Your Own Box Home

Peekaboo!!

Peekaboo!!

My children are like any other child I’ve known: fascinated by the worlds in their own imaginations. I am always looking to find things that keep their busy little hands and imaginations occupied without a lot of expense or mess. Something they’ve been having fun with lately is a huge box. I have given it to them as their own home within our home, to decorate as they please and have altered at whim.

They scribble on it at whim. I’ve put in window flaps and ceiling flaps and little eye shaped peepholes galore. They think it is awesome, and have spent hours and hours pretending it’s their castle, house, doctor’s office, art center, restaurant and who knows what all else. It’s their creative corner. I am thinking I should give them stickers to put on it, but I’ll have to supervise that one pretty well. :)

This is a simple, free activity that brings them endless fun. I’d encourage you to try it with your kiddos. :)

Decorate Your Own Box Home

Decorate Your Own Box Home


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Kids Eat Free

Kids Eat Free

Kids Eat Free

Ideally, we’d all have time to cook a balanced and delicious dinner every single night. Since we don’t live in an ideal world, and many of us just plain enjoy going out to eat at a restaurant with our family now and then, I’ve scoured the web for resources for finding those infamous kids eat free specials that make eating out with children so much more affordable. I’m sharing a few of my favorite links here.

Kids Eat Free This site lets you search for your state and city, giving you a list of restaurants who have any sort of free kids meals, including details about times and eligibility. Really great site!

Kids Eat 4 Free Super duper user friendly, this site allows you to either search by city & state or by zip code and distance. It also gives clear details about the when, where and how of all the bargains listed.

Kids Meal Deals Not only listing free kids meals, but also places with super special bargains, this site has a simple search engine where you type in your zip code, select a day of the week (or all days) and there you have your results. Click for details of each. :)

Out to Eat With Kids This site has a similar search system to Kids Eat 4 Free, but each of these sites seem to have slightly different lists of restaurants where munchkins can eat free. It’s worth doing a quick search of each to see which you can take advantage of.

What restaurant do you wish had free kids meals? Which are you happy is participating? What is just plain your favorite restaurant to eat at with your kiddos?


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Super Yummy Don’t-Tell-Them-They’re-Healthy Snacks

Veggie Snack

Veggie Snack

My kiddos are always munching on something, and often when I really don’t have time to make a quick snack. I decided to come up with healthier versions of premade snacks my four year old can just open the fridge and get out when I’m in the middle of something. By the way, I actually do tell my kids when their food is healthy, because I want them to know they are eating well and still enjoy what they’re eating instead of thinking junk is better. It sounded cute, though. ;)

One idea I came up with for inexpensive premade snacks of the healthy variety is to chop up some veggies into little stick shapes, get some ranch dressing or other preferred veggie dip and put it all together in a two sided container. In this case, I used a KFC Go Cup, because it is about the right size and already divided into two sections for the two parts. I have a lot of cucumbers from the garden and carrots are cheap, so that was my choice for this particular cup. Some other suggestions would be celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, sugar pea, broccoli, cauliflower or baby carrots.

Using the same KFC Go Cup, or a similar divided container, such as these awesome Easylunchboxes 3-Compartment Bento Lunch Box Containers “Classic” (Set Of 4). Bpa-Free. Easy-Open Lids (Not Leakproof)
, try slicing apples or green grapes and making a dip of peanut butter and honey.

The above suggestions have to be refrigerated if not being used immediately, but the ideas below are good for a snack drawer or shelf the kids can free range graze. :)

In small sandwich baggies, put in handfuls of homemade snack mix. One that I tried recently was Taco Seasoned Chex Mix. It could be adapted with your own seasonings you’d normally use in tacos, I was just trying it following their recipe to start. I like that it has very little sugar (a small amount in the cereals) and is fairly filling.

Another sandwich bag filler is GORP: Good Old Raisins and Peanuts. I mix two parts each of raisins and peanuts with one part M&Ms or chocolate chips, and it is soooooo yummy! I wouldn’t call it a health food, but it will fulfill your kiddos’ junk food cravings without allowing them to completely binge on sugar.

You can whip up a batch of my Yummy Oatmeal Banana Healthified Cookies and put a couple in each baggie for a great quick and healthy snackeroo that will satisfy even a hungry hubby. :)

This premade healthy thing can be applied to simply putting various fruits, veggies or nuts into serving sized containers for your kids to grab at will. Children tend to eat what is easily accessed, just like adults, and it is up to the grownups in their lives to provide them with solid choices.

What are some of your favorite homemade convenience snacks?

*Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


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Freezing Peppers

Bell Pepper Bagged

Bell Pepper Bagged

Bell Pepper Tray

Bell Pepper Tray

One of the ways I try to stretch a dollar while feeding my family with healthy foods is to keep a garden and put up what we won’t eat while fresh for later. To be honest, I haven’t progressed to the point of having a humongous garden to provide limitless bounty to can for stocking a huge pantry of shelves I don’t yet have. I was raised doing it, but haven’t been able to do it myself yet as an adult on my own. This year I have a little semi raised bed measuring roughly 16′ by 3′, plus a few potted veggies. It won’t provide enough food to last us year round, but it does provide a large chunk of our produce for the spring and summer, plus a bit to put up for later. One of the things I put up last year was excess peppers.

Since I don’t get enough of anything at once to make a big batch of anything, I tend to freeze things more than canning. I can always can most things later if I get enough of something frozen and want to make a sauce or jelly or some such delicacy out of them. Last year I froze bell peppers and cayenne peppers to use in cooking. Wanna do it yourself? Here’s what I did…

Cayenne Pepper Tray

Cayenne Pepper Tray

Cayenne Bagged

Cayenne Bagged

Wash and seed peppers, then slice and lay out on cookie sheets. Pop them in the freezer just like that. This step keeps them from clumping together in a big mess in your freezer bags. I left them in for about an hour, then got them out and tossed them into labeled freezer bags. I squeezed out all the air I could before sealing, then laid them flat to freeze. They should keep like this for at least several months. I still have a couple of bags left from last August, and they are fine & dandy.

Which veggies and fruits do you prefer to freeze to keep them fresh & yummy? Which would you like to try freezing, but haven’t yet?

For some great recipes, please click the Chef’s hat!

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http://pennypinchingpeach.com/2013/10/04/swagbucks-savings/

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