Along with our CSA membership (full-share) we get to attend 7 picking events. The choices include peas (unlimited), cucumbers (1 bushel), herbs, green beans (unlimited), beets, sweet corn (10 dozen ear), pumpkins (8), fall produce (50# mesh bag to fill with squash, potatoes, onions, etc), fall decoratives, and tomatoes. I don’t think we’ll do beets. I know we’ll do peas, green beans, cukes, tomatoes & fall produce. The rest is up in the air yet.
Anyway, back to the pea pick! It was scheduled for July 10th. Our CSA farm is abut 40 minutes from our house so we had hoped to leave early and pick before we got too hot. Unfortunately we didn’t make it out very early but we were picking by 10:30. There were three kinds of peas to choose from: shelling, snow & sugar snap. We picked 6 (ice cream) buckets of shelling peas & 2 of sugar snap.
Grace and I started in on picking the shelling peas while the boys picked sugar snap. My hubby said it was like picking next to a rabbit. Stanley ate & ate those peas! He told me he ate 150! I don’t think it was really that much, but he barely ate all his lunch. At least he was filled up on good food, right?
After picking, we found a little canoe access on a nearby river and had our picnic lunch we’d packed along. PB&J, raw kohlrabi with ranch dip, cheese sticks & fresh peas (of course). Stanley practiced skipping rocks, while Grace tried to get a lesson in rock-skipping from her dad. He’s our family pro. It was a nice stop along the way to the nearest larger town to do some shopping.
Once home we all sat on the deck and spent the next hour and a half shelling peas. That was actually fun too.
It was an all around nice day spent together.
In my quest to tighten our belt a bit, I am looking at areas where I can cut the budget. It has lead to some new motivators for a healthier lifestyle.
Portion Sizes: Obviously the more appropriate our portion sizes, the less it costs to feed a family.
Beverages: We serve water most of the time at supper. I keep an eye on my kids dairy servings and if they have their recommended amount of dairy already, we switch to water. The adults in this family automatically drink water for at least one meal a day. This has dropped our milk consumption by at least a gallon a week.
Snacks: When I plan snacks in advance I find two things. That my kids get more variety and often another serving of fruit/vegetable, and that it is less expensive. Carrot sticks and dip costs far less than sitting down to a bag of chips.
Menu Planning: Obviously menu planning is a frugal endeavor for many reasons. Less food waste, less temptation to eat out and greater chance of buying food on sale are just a few.
Active Family Fun: Going for a bike ride or family hike is a healthy alternative to sitting down to a family movie night with rented or new movies. We spend roughly $30 per year for an annual State Park sticker for our vehicle…this gives us many many days or evenings of hiking and special programs put on in the park. We have 3 State Parks nearby. But even a trip to the local park encourages good health and is FREE!
Health Club Benefits: If you have health insurance (and I really hope you do) you likely have a health club incentive program tied to it. In our case, if we attend our community center 12 times a month the insurance company will pay us $20. Each. Up to 2 adults. Our membership is $44.13 a month. If Dan and I each work out or take the kids to swim or play ball a dozen times a month…our membership becomes an expense of just $4.13.
So as I try to stay motivated to set the good, healthy example for my kids I discover the potential impact to my budget’s bottom line. Money can be a good motivator.
I’ve mentioned that SmallTown offers some great extras now and then. This week would be another example. DQ knows how to celebrate their anniversary!
Every year, the first part of February, DQ has an anniversary sale. Every day of the week there is some phenomenal deal. Today’s special was 29 cent Dilly Bars. For just under $1.30 we all had a nice treat. Saturday is a special on Blizzards…buy one regular price (any size) get one for 29 cents. My kids will hardly believe TWO trips to DQ in one week.
Of course this is only frugal if you don’t buy anything else and stick to the sale.