20 Items Worth Buying in Bulk

A while ago I stood in the store, wavering between a “bulk” and normal-sized package. While trying to decide if I could use up the bulk package quickly enough, my eyes zeroed in on the price per ounce. That instantly settled the question. The bulk package was quite a bit more expensive, per ounce, than the regular!

Buying in bulk isn’t always a bargain. Sometimes you end up paying more, just for the bulk packaging.

And of course, buying in bulk isn’t worth it if the package is just going to sit in the back of the cupboard and invite weevils, ants, or other pests into your kitchen. (Or meet a less dramatic end and simply expire.)

There are two important questions to ask before making bulk purchases: “Do we use this often enough that it won’t go bad?” and “Does it actually save enough to buy it in bulk?”

Since Aldi is my favorite store, a bulk purchase needs to beat Aldi, either in quality or price… and be one that I use enough of to avoid a dismal fate at the back of the cupboard.

These are 20 items that are worth it for me to buy in bulk.

Buying in bulk can save big... or cost you big. These 20 items are ones that we use regularly and that cost WAY less to buy in bulk.

[Links to some products in this post are my referral links.]  photo credit 

20 Items Worth Buying in Bulk

1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a family staple and ordering in bulk saves so much. We order 50# bags from our co-op (if you are in their route, I highly recommend CLNF!) We eat oatmeal for breakfast once a week and use it to make granola, energy bites, protein bars and much more.

2. Grains

One of my very favorite kitchen tools ever is my grain mill. It’s an investment, but if you love baking with fresh wheat or other grains it is totally worth the cost! I order chemical-free white wheat and other grains from CLNF for making fresh bread, muffins, waffles, pancakes, and much more.

3. Flax seeds

Flax seeds are a great source of fiber and make a good egg-replacement in baked goods. Now that we have our own chickens, I don’t run out of eggs nearly as often as I used to, but it’s awfully handy to have on hand when I do. I also add flax to healthy snacks like energy bites and protein bars.  (From CLNF)

4. Organic raisin

Since raisins are so heavily sprayed with pesticides, buying organic raisins was worth it to me, especially since I can buy them in bulk from CLNF for not too much more, per pound, as regular raisins from Aldi. {They have raised their prices quite a bit since last time I ordered. But for me it’s still worth it.}

5. Coconut Oil/ Coconut Chips

We go through a LOT of coconut oil. Prices vary considerably depending on the quality, but I’ve ordered it by the gallon from Tropical TraditionsSoaper’s Choice, and CLNF.

We also buy shredded coconut and coconut chips in bulk from CLNF. It’s delicious in granolaenergy bites, protein bars, and cookies. Plus, I use it to make my own coconut milk.

6. Olive oil

I don’t buy enough items at Sam’s to make it worth buying a pass (and we don’t have a local Costco), but they usually offer two weekends a year when you can shop without a pass. So, I try to stock up on the few items that I find worth getting those days. Olive oil is one of them. Thankfully, it stays good for over six months.

7. Raw nuts

Despite what the expiration date may say, nuts sometimes go rancid. I stock up on almonds, pecans, and walnuts on my twice-yearly trip to Sam’s and store extra bags in the freezer.

8. Cheese

We are really blessed to have a family member who works at a cheese plant and sometimes picks up extra cheese for us. Other times my sweet mom picks some up from Sam’s for me. I buy the blocks, shred and freeze it.

9. Raw Honey

Whenever possible, we order straight from a local bee keeper. Due to the honeybee problems, sometimes that isn’t possible and honey is another bulk Sam’s purchase.

10. Maple syrup

Real maple syrup is amazing. And expensive. And worth it to me (since most regular syrup is mainly corn syrup and food coloring!) We order by the gallon, straight from the producers, which helps cut down on the cost… and usually ensures that we don’t have hot hootenanny ready to eat, but no syrup to put on it.

11. Vinegar

Good for things as diverse as ear infections and a hair rinse, vinegar gets used up quickly. We buy it by the gallon.

12. Yeast

Buying packets of yeast is WAY more expensive than buying in bulk. Personally, I prefer SAF yeast, which I order from Amazon. Once opened, I store yeast in the freezer and have never had it lose its potency. (One of my goals for the year is to learn to make amazing sourdough bread that doesn’t need purchased years. I still have a long way to go though!)

13. Frequently-used herbs

If you drink a lot of herbal tea or make your own herbal remedies, buying herbs in bulk makes sense. Most herbs will stay fresh for at least a year if you store them in air-tight glass jars in a dark cupboard. I get this delicious peppermint tea plus herbs for making tinctures and DIY salves in bulk.

14. Coffee

Joshua’s parents are amazing at finding local deals on bulk purchases. Thanks to them, we get good quality freshly-roasted coffee beans in bulk from a local coffee company. If you go through a lot of coffee, check to see if your local coffee shop sells bulk beans. We save at least 30% on good quality coffee by buying in bulk. (We grind it ourselves, so it still tastes fresh every morning.)

15. Chicken & beef

Often, if you can trace the meat to its source distributor, you can get great deals on bulk purchases to store in the freezer.

16. Local, in-season produce

If you like putting up your own foods like applesauce or salsa (and haven’t managed to grow your own apples or tomatoes), buying produce by the bushel from local farmers can really save!

17. Diapers & Wipes

I do not coupon, so maybe I don’t get the best deal ever, but love Subscribe & Save with Amazon Mom. 15% off and diapers delivered straight to my front door works for me!

Same goes for wet wipes.  (I’m super picky and way prefer Huggies Fragrance-Free!)

18. Toilet paper

Another Subscribe & Save bulk purchase which I’m happy not to try to squeeze into a shopping cart that is already holding two or three kids!

19. Personal products

About half of the personal products we use are worth getting in bulk. Things like shampoo and castile soap for making natural DIY foaming soap.

20. Vodka

Yes, vodka. The cheap kind. Not for drinking, but for all sorts of DIY projects, like homemade vanilla extract and DIY herbal tinctures.

Buying in bulk can save you hundreds of dollars... but it can also lose you lots of money. Here are 20 smart bulk purchases.  photo credit 

Buying in Bulk

Buying in bulk can either save or waste a lot of money. Even if the 20 pounds of millet flour seems like a great deal, if it just sits in the pantry and goes bad, it’s not such a great deal after all.

But by only purchasing items we regularly use and making sure that the cost per pound is actually lower, we save hundreds of dollars a year on our food purchases by buying in bulk.

I’m really curious. What things do you think are worth buying in bulk? 

Weighing Frugality

I’m a saver by nature and frugal to the core. Figuring out ways to do things myself, stretch a product, or simply do without gives me a happy adrenaline rush most of the time.

My job doesn’t pay (at least not in dollars), but I like to think of the frugal things I do as stay-at-home mom as “earning” in savings.

But now that I am busy with four little children and homeschooling (and Joshua isn’t in school anymore), I need to weigh frugal choices a bit more carefully. I need to make sure they really are blessing my family and aren’t wearing me thin. So I’ve been asking myself two simple questions

  •  Is this frugal idea worth my time?
  • Do I genuinely enjoy this frugal practice? 

The internet is flooded with frugal ideas. But many of them simply aren't worth the time and effort. Here are two simple questions to ask when choosing your frugal adventures.

photo by Pontus Edenberg

Weigh Frugal Choices

Frugal practices that are worth the time investment

Much as I love being frugal, if I were to follow every single frugal idea out there, I’d wear myself thin. I cannot do it all. And I’ve come to realize that some frugal practices just aren’t worth the time.

To help me mentally balance whether a frugal practice would be worth doing, it’s helpful to establish a rough personal “base savings amount”, of $10 or $20 or X per hour. So in order for a frugal practice to be worth it, it needs to save roughly X dollars.

Once you’ve set your baseline, it’s pretty easy to evaluate frugal practices to see whether they save enough to make your time investment worthwhile.

Let’s look at packing a lunch. Unless it’s fast food, a decent lunch out averages more than $8. Multiply that by 5 weekdays, and you’re looking at $40.

A meat and cheese sandwich with a side costs less than $1.50, or $7.50 per week. It takes less than five minutes to throw together a lunch, but let’s just round up to half an hour for five lunches.

$40 minus $7.50 equals $32.50. That’s a savings of $32.50 per half hour or $65 per hour! Joshua often has lunch meetings, but the rest of the time I think it’s worth $65 an hour to pack him a lunch!

So for me, packing a lunch is worthwhile. But something like couponing is not. I tried couponing for a while when Joshua was in school, but once I factored in the time spent looking online for deals, printing coupons, and going to extra stores, I was saving way less than $10 per hour compared to just shopping at Aldi (my favorite store for many reasons).

There are so many choices we have to make: ironing vs. dry-cleaning, reuse vs. buy new, line-drying vs. dryer, homeschool vs. private school, DIY vs. hiring a professional, etc. Having a baseline savings amount and a rough estimate of what things save, helps me decide whether a frugal practice is worth my time in this busy stage of life.

Frugal practices that are just plain fun

Even if we were millionaires, there are some frugal things that I love doing so much that I’d want to do them anyway, like gardening, making homemade tortillas, and hanging sheets and blankets out to dry.

Technically, all of these things save some money, but based on savings alone, they may or may not be worthwhile. But I literally dream about gardening, think the taste of homemade tortillas is totally worth the effort, and adore the intoxicatingly fresh scent of line-dried linens.

The fact that these things happen to be frugal is just a side bonus. Each of these things are worthwhile to me because I love doing them.

If you try to implement every single frugal idea, you're going to be one worn-out Mom. Weigh your frugal choices to make sure they are worth your time and effort with these two simple questions.

Choose the frugal things that are worthwhile for your family

As Lisa Terkeurst said, doing everything doesn’t make us “wonder woman, it makes us a worn-out woman.” We can’t say yes to every frugal idea, because we’d be completely worn out. (And besides, one of the purposes of money is enjoyment).

Weigh your frugal choices and make sure that they are worth your time… or that you really love doing them.

DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Save energy and reduce static with these simple DIY wool dryer balls. Here's how to make them from an old woolen sweater or wool year.

Looking for a fun, simple, and practical DIY project? These homemade dryer balls only take about 15 minutes to make!

So what exactly is a wool dryer ball? It’s a felted wool ball that you put in your dryer that works as an all natural alternative to dryer sheets. The wool absorbs and redistributes moisture to reduce drying time and static. I haven’t run any official experiments to see exactly how much energy they save, but I’d guess between 10 and 20%. With how much laundry we do, that will add up quickly!

You can purchase wool yarn or ransack your closet (or the thrift store) for old 100% wool sweaters to use. Both work equally well.

DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Make wool dryer balls from old woolen sweaters!

Two options for wool: buy wool roving/yarn or cut up an old wool sweater. [Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

Supplies you’ll need:

How to make wool dryer balls

Cut an olden wool sweater into strips to turn into energy-saving dryer balls.

Before you get started: If you are using a sweater, you can either unravel the yarn (if you’re up for that!) or just cut the sweater into thin strips, like I did. It worked great and went really fast.

Step 1: Tightly roll the yarn/strips into an orange-sized ball. (It will shrink a lot!)

An unfelted wool dryer ball. It's almost ready to toss into the dryer!

Step 2: Weave the end under several strands.

Putting my wool dryer balls in nylon tights to felt.

Step 3: Put the dryer ball in a nylon hose to keep it from coming unraveled when it’s felting. Secure with a knot. You can add multiple balls, just make sure to keep them separated.

Step 4: Wash the dryer balls in a warm/hot load of laundry (OR, just soak them in really hot water and gently ring most of the water out.)

Step 5: Dry them on your dryer’s hottest setting, with a load of laundry.

Step 6: Repeat step 4 & 5 till the balls are felted. You can tell your dryer balls are done when you can gently run your finger over the yarn and it doesn’t separate. It’s become one solid ball.

Step 7: Remove from the nylon.

Reduce drying time and static with these all-natural wool dryer balls. Easily make them yourself from an old woolen sweater or wool yarn!

You’re finished! Toss four to six dryer balls into your dryer with each load of wet laundry to reduce dry time and static. They can be used hundreds of time!

DIY projects I’d like to try this year:

Last year I tried a few DIY projects, like delicious homemade vanilla extract and super practical anti-bacterial green salve, but I want to be more intentional about it this year. Especially because Rose is getting to the age where she’s dying to learn new crafts and skills. She really wants to knit socks. I’m not sure if I’ll get talented enough to learn and teach sock-making, but I definitely plan to teach her to make scarves!

  • DIY Wool Dryer Balls (done, woot!)
  • DIY rustic wall-hanging (kind of like this)
  • DIY picture wall (once we can get all the study stuff out of our bedroom, I really need to get some things up on the wall. Isn’t this picture wall cute?)
  • DIY hand soap (my first attempt was a disaster. I’m hoping with an accurate scale things turn out better!)
  • Homemade candles (we’ve made them once before, but I loved them so much we ran out quickly)
  • Teach Rose how to knit a scarf (I’m not a huge knitting fan, but she’s dying to learn. Knitting with her sounds like a blast!)
  • DIY owl rice packs. 
  • DIY Christmas-scented jar (wouldn’t this make an awesome gift? And it looks incredibly easy and I would get to feel craftsy! )

Why You Should Start a Compost Pile NOW (& how to do it)

Summer’s soaring temperatures have plummeted and autumn leaves are beginning to litter the ground. Now is the perfect time to start your compost pile.

Approximately 90 billion pounds of food is wasted in America every single year. That’s roughly 30 percent of the food that is sold. (Source)

Why You Should Start a Compost Pile Now

Not only does a compost pile cut down on your household waste, it turns that “waste” into rich and beautiful soil to grow fresh fruits and vegetables in.

Even if you don’t garden, starting a compost pile is worth it. I promise you that the avid gardeners in your life would consider a few loads of fresh compost an awesome present.

So why should you start your compost pile NOW? Because a good compost pile needs two types of materials: greens (like kitchen scraps) and browns (like, you guessed it, dried leaves). Plus, if you start in autumn, your pile will be at least partially composted come spring planting time.

How to Start a Compost Pile

Select a Site for Your Compost: 

Pinterest is full of ideas for cute composters. Me? I opted for a plain old-fashioned pile, hidden behind the shed. I’d suggest tucking the pile in a hidden, but easily accessible, spot. If you have to dodge an obstacle course to get to it, the compost pile is likely to get neglected.

Also make sure it is a spot that doesn’t stay soggy for days after a downpour. A pile that’s too wet starts to smell bad quickly.

To compost properly, the pile should be at least 3′ wide by 3′ long and (eventually) 3′ tall. That size will help it generate enough heat to compost properly.

Build Your Compost Pile: 

Compost piles are not like puffed pastries. You do not have to measure exactly to get rich crumbly results. The general rule of thumb though is 1 part “green” materials to 3 parts “brown” materials.

Green (or nitrogen-rich) materials:

  • Fruit & vegetable scraps
  • Coffee grinds & tea bags
  • Garden trimmings from healthy plants*
  • Eggshells, preferably crushed
  • Farm animal manure, like rabbits or backyard chickens
  • Weeds, that haven’t gone to seed
  • Grass clippings (add in thin layers or stir around so it doesn’t mat)

Brown (or carbon-rich) materials:

  • Leaves, except black walnut leaves
  • Cardboard (even toilet paper tubes, egg cartons, etc)
  • Shredded newspapers, scrap paper, etc (avoid glossy paper though)
  • Straw
  • Corncob husks

Material to AVOID in your Compost Pile

  • Meat, dairy, and oil (you don’t want to attract nasty critters!)
  • Glossy paper
  • Cat & dog (or other carnivore) poop
  • Weeds that have gone to seed (for obvious reasons)
  • Diseased plants (you don’t want to spread plant diseases to your compost pile!)

Speed up the Composting (if you want)

Left to their own, these materials will compost. Eventually. If you want to speed the process up, keep the pile moist and aerated.

Keep the pile moist: If the pile is too dry, it won’t compost well. If it’s too wet it won’t either (and might smell bad). The ideal “wetness” is like a moist sponge. Honestly, when I’m watering the garden in the heat of summer, sometimes I’ll spray the pile down too. I’m not in a huge hurry and don’t worry much about it though.

Keep the pile aerated:  When you first start the pile, it’s usually nice and aerated. As the materials start to break down, use up oxygen, and compress, the pile gets more matted. If you want to speed up the composting, aerated it a bit with a pitchfork. Again, this is optional and something I only do rarely, because I have plenty of other things I’d rather do with my time!

How can you tell when it’s ready? When your compost smells earthy and looks like rich soil not a pile of leaves, eggshells, and potato peels. Sometimes the bottom layer will be ready first and you can just scoop some out to add to your garden soil.

Go Start Your Compost

Starting a compost pile is about as difficult as doing a load of laundry and NOW is the best time to begin. Just pick your site, add your materials, and wait the pile to turn into rich compost.

 —————————————

Want to start your own garden but don’t know where to begin? Of the stacks of gardening books I’ve read, One Magic Square is hands down my favorite. It’s down-to-earth, informative, upbeat, and inspiring.

 May be linked up at Mama Moments,Works for MeWalking RedeemedGraced Simplicity, & Simple Lives

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

photo credit 

Four Frugal Ways to Build Your Library

Last week, I shared a growing list of our favorite picture storybooks. Stories that are worth reading and re-reading. Stories that I think are worth owning.

Because I’m a frugal minimalist and terribly picky about what books I want to read aloud 157 times, I usually borrow books from a friend, check them out from the library, or take advantage of Amazon’s awesome preview feature before adding them to my wish list.

Once a book is on the wish list though, here are four frugal ways to add them to your personal collection.

Four frugal ways to build your family library

Paperback Swap

Paperback Swap is a huge, online book-trading hub. You list books you no longer want, or you have duplicates of, or you picked up at a yard sale but don’t need, etc…. When another member requests one of your books, mail it, and earn a credit for a book to be mailed to you.

Books we received include Make Way for Ducklings, Chanticleer & the Fox and hardback copies of the Winnie the Pooh series. (I’ve mailed out a lot of good ones too!)

Click here to joinOnce you list ten books to trade, you’ll receive two free book credits to start building your library immediately! (Plus, I’ll get a credit too, so we BOTH get to build our libraries. Win-win, right?) Thanks Bekah

Shop Yard Sales or Thrift Stores

You really never know the treasures you might uncover by glancing through the books when you’re at yard sales or thrift stores.

Even if you don’t find books you want personally, you can often pick up like-new books to list on Paperback Swap to trade for books you do want!

Shop Your Library’s Used Sales

My friend Abigail, who is a queen of children’s books, has scored many great finds at our local library’s bi-annual used sale. When the library receives duplicate books as donations or retires older copies from its system, they get put in the used library sale. The prices are great and the selection is often overwhelming.

Plus, many of the older classics (the books I want my children reading!) end up here.

Give Books as Gifts

As I find books I love, I add them to a running children’s book wish list for birthday and Christmas gift ideas for myself or grandparents. Normally we give each child at least one new book for each holiday. With multiple children, it’s a slow but sure way to build the stock of good books in the home.

What are your favorite ways to build your library? 

  May be linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeHealthy 2Day ,Works for MeWalking RedeemedGraced SimplicityFabulously Frugal & Simple Lives

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

7 Simple Sanity Savers

Many of us dreamt of being mothers from our earliest girlhoods and would not trade the joy and responsibility of shaping souls for any career.

That fact doesn’t make mothering multiple little ones easy.

There are plenty of days that six o’clock rolls around and I haven’t thought of dinner once and the stacks of folded laundry form a maze on the living room floor. But these seven simple sanity savers have helped calm the chaos considerably during this full season of life.

(Photo credit)

Follow me over to A Mama’s Story to read the rest.  

9 Reasons to Shop at Aldi (Besides Saving Money)

After four years of the nearest Aldi being almost an hour away, I couldn’t be more thrilled to have two Aldi stores within fifteen minutes of us. If I were a millionaire, I would still shop at Aldi. I much prefer shopping there than at other stores.

Shopping at Aldi saves money. Lots of money. But that’s only one of many reasons why I love shopping there. 

  1. Shopping at Aldi saves brain power. There’s only one brand of diced tomatoes and one choice of dried basil. Instead of staring at rows of canned tomatoes and trying to decipher the differences (or determine if there are any) between twenty varieties, there’s just one option. Take it or leave it and save your brain power for more important decisions.
  2. The store brand is generally good. There are a few items we don’t like, but for the most part we can’t tell a difference or like Aldi’s brand just as well as other brands. (Though most of what I buy is not processed.) Try the Aldi brand. You just might like it. If not…
  3. They offer a double-back guarantee on most food items. If a product is not satisfactory, they’ll replace it AND refund your money. You can’t really lose with a guarantee like that.
  4. Their produce sales are amazing. It’s hard to beat avocados for 19¢ a piece or a pound of mushrooms for 79¢! Apparently some Aldi stores regularly have sub-par produce, but I’ve been as happy with the produce from the Aldi near us as I have with other grocery stores (though of course it can’t compare to a farmer’s market or fresh from the garden!) You do have to check the produce and be selective, but I do that no matter what store I’m at. ( To help minimize pesticide consumption, I try to purchase items from the “Dirty Dozen” list organic or grow them myself.—on that note, our Aldi recently started carrying organic spinach. Yay!)
  5. Their “special-buy” items rock! Besides the regular food items, Aldi carries “special-buy” items that change regularly. In the spring it was garden goods. In late summer it was back-to-school items. I’ve been tickled with how often just the item I needed shows up in the “special-buy” aisle at Aldi. A few of my favorite finds include a garden spade (that was much nicer than the more expensive one from Lowes), a heavy-duty magnifying glass with an LED light (batteries included) for the same price as a cheap school kind, a cute white hamper, and beautiful trellises for the garden. Not only are the items a great deal, I’ve consistently been surprised by how good quality they are. (And, if they’re not good quality, returns are easy.)
  6. The store isn’t huge. I like walking, but prefer to get my exercise in the great outdoors. Thanks in large part to reason #1, you don’t have to walk a mile just to get your groceries. Of course this also means that Aldi doesn’t carry every single thing we need, but I can usually shop there weekly or every other week (if we get our milk locally) and then only go to Wal-mart or Target occasionally for the other items.
  7. The customers are friendlier. Maybe it’s because they’re saving so much money, maybe it’s because they don’t have to spend all their brain power wading through too many choices, but whatever the reason, customers at Aldi tend to be much more friendly…at least at the Aldi we go to.
  8. The cashiers are lightning fast. 
  9. Last, but certainly not least, EVERYONE puts away their cart. Not-putting-away-carts is a pet peeve of mine. Add a 25¢ incentive and voila! Problem solved. (I try not to believe that this says something rather sad about our country.)

Do you shop at Aldi? Why or why not?

 Linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeEncourage One AnotherWalking RedeemedGraced Simplicity, & Proverbs 31 

8 Uses for an Old White Sheet

There’s something so fun about turning an item that was bound for the trashcan into something useful! We recently changed bed sizes so I had several non-necessary, good-quality, but somewhat stained white sheets to play with. Here’s a few ways to up-cycle an old white sheet.

  1. Plant coverings. Cut the sheet into various-sized plant covers. Use the covers to protect tender seedlings from an unexpected late frost.
  2. Plant shades. Did you know that even plants can get sunburnt? I didn’t let my little seedlings harden off quite long enough and learned this the hard way. Old white sheets make excellent plant shades until the seedling has adjusted to life in the sun.
  3. Cotton slip. This was by far my favorite use for an old white sheet. I passionately dislike polyester/silk slips, especially in the summer, but almost all of my summery skirts really need a slip. The solution: turn an old sheet into a cotton slip. Just cut a rectangular piece of material that’s a bit wider than you want it. Sew the side and hem the bottom. Fold over the top twice for a piece of elastic or ribbon and sew. So easy. This really is a “1-hour project” (or less).
  4. Lining for curtains, quilts, or other projects: sheet material is generally softer and better quality than the cheap lining fabric.
  5. Dress-up hats, aprons, etc.: I made Rose a vintage looking nurse outfit for her third birthday using an old white sheet to make her apron and nurse’s cap.
  6. White bedskirt: Sewing projects that involve straight lines are about all I have time or patience for these days. This simple bedskirt didn’t take much skill but cutting it took longer than I thought. It was fun to make something for the kids’ room, but probably only worth the time if since I happened to have a series of lectures I had to watch and wanted to do something while I listened—and the ironing happened to be caught up!
  7. Drop cloth: If you decide to paint with three little “helpers”, chances are you’ll have a spill! Even if you paint alone, a good drop cloth is very important.
  8. White curtains: straight lines again, yay!

Have you up-cycled any items lately? If so, please share!

 Linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeEncourage One AnotherFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways,Works for MeWalking RedeemedGraced SimplicityProverbs 31 & Natural Living

Ebates Review (or Why Didn’t I Join Sooner?)

[Normally I shy away from posts encouraging you to sign up for this or that great deal because I don’t want that to be the focus of this site. Occasionally though I get a deal that seems too good not to share with someone. Today, you are that someone! Lucky you, right?]

Have you heard about Ebates before? I’ve heard about online cashback sites like Ebates for a long time but honestly didn’t think they were worth the trouble.

Until today.

I had a fairly large online purchase I needed to make so I thought why not check out Ebates

Get a $10 gift card, plus earn cash back when you shop online!

photo credit

I clicked on Ebates and was greeted with one pleasant surprise after another.

First, if you’re new to Ebates, you get to choose a $10 giftcard to Wal-mart or several other major retailers OR a $5 giftcard to Ebates after you make your first $25 dollar purchase! (How painless is that if you have to place an order anyway?!) 

To make the deal sweeter, Ebates offers 6% cashback on orders from Kohls (where I had to make my purchase). 

It took all of 45 seconds to sign up, enter my address for them to ship my $10 Wal-mart gift card to, and click on their Kohl’s link. No credit card information or profile information required. It’s simple, painless and fast. 

Ebates offers cash back on hundreds of online stores, usually ranging from 3-8%. Next time I make an online purchase all I have to do is sign in, click on the store I’m ordering from, and earn cash back! I’m guesstimating a 15 second time investment tops. 

3% to 8% may not be a ton, but it sure adds up, especially if you do a lot of your gift shopping online! It’s so painless I’m wondering why on earth I didn’t sign up with Ebates sooner!

Want to give it a try? Click here to get started and earn your $10 giftcard!

Then, if you find it as simple and worthwhile as I did, you can share it with your friends and earn $5 for each friend who signs up.

[Full disclosure: Links to products in this post are my referral links.]

Discover the Wonders of Your Own Backyard (& a Backyard Quiche Recipe)

Thanks so much for your prayers and kind encouragement these past weeks/months as our family battled sickness after sickness. I am so grateful for each of you and so grateful to be feeing better again! (Plus I’m so excited to have the time and energy to blog again!)

I love the first spring in a new home. It’s so fun to watch the yard and see what surprises come up: a sunny patch of daffodils, a bush that’s radiant with flowers, or a tree whose unfolding leaves are so beautiful.

This year though, I’ve determined to do more than simply enjoy the beauty. I want to learn about the trees and flowers and even the weeds in our yard. I want to learn about them, and teach my children about them.

photo credit

Why?

Learning about the incredible variety of weeds that stubbornly grow beneath our feet, makes the grandeur of Creation come alive before your fingers (or toes). Plus, while you investigate the wonders, you’re soaking up Vitamin D from the sun and breathing in the fresh spring air.

Did you know that the early American settlers brought weeds to plant in the new world? That’s right. Millions of dollars a year are spent trying to eradicate the dandelions and other weeds so prized by the early settlers. (Read why dandelions are so loved here!)

For our neighbor’s sake, I’ll try to keep the dandelions at bay in the front yard, but dandelions, onion grass, plantain, red clover, wood sorrel, and the variety of other edible and medicinal weeds are more than welcome in our fenced-in, pet and pesticide-free backyard.

The children and I have had so much fun finding the weeds native to our yard, marveling at their uniqueness, and learning about them. We’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many of them are edible and even really good for you. (Always make sure, of course, that there are no inedible or poisonous look-alikes!)

To celebrate the arrival of fresh spring dandelions, we decided to make a “Backyard Spinach Quiche.” It was delicious, though next time I plan to add quite a few more dandelion petals.

Backyard Spinach Quiche

adapted from Better Homes & Garden

Ingredients

  • 9 inch single pie crust (I replace the shortening with real butter and love it!)
  • 8 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 
  • 1/2 cup cream or milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen spinach, thawed (or 3 cups fresh spinach or fresh backyard greens!)
  • petals from 2+ dandelions, thoroughly washed
  • 10-20 pieces onion grass, thoroughly washed & finely chopped (or 1/2 cup onion)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup crumbled bacon or diced ham, optional
  • 2/3 cup cheddar or mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Bake un-pricked pie shell at 450F for 10 minutes, or until dry and set. Reduce oven to 325F.
  2. Stir together remaining ingredients
  3. Pour egg mixture into baked pastry shell. Cover edges with foil, if desired.
  4. Bake at 325F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until knife inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeEncourage One AnotherHealthy 2DayFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways,Works for MeWild Crafting WednesdayWalking RedeemedProverbs 31Natural Living, & Simple Lives

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