I'm Megan, the writer behind Naturally Thrifty.
I'm a mama of 3 amazing little boys, wife to a carpenter , lover of photography, DIY projects and natural & thrifty living. This is where I get to share all of that with you. I'm glad you stopped by. I hope we have something in common and that you will come again, visit often, and enjoy my little corner of the world!
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Spring time has finally arrived after a few nights of below-freezing temperatures. I am greatly enjoying soaking in the warm sun while we realize the blessing of a brand new season of new life springing up all around us. The birds are singing every morning and building their nests, the calves are growing and new ones soon will arrive, and the woods is waking from winter slumber. It’s a beautiful time to live on a farm! We are welcoming the hard work that comes with the change of seasons because it means the chance to work outdoors in the fresh county air and the hope of fresh fruits and veggies in the fall. We are absolutely loving it! I hope you are enjoying your spring as well.
I was browsing the Young Living Essential oils website this morning and found this handy infographic that lists several easy recipes for non- toxic cleaning. I saved it for personal use, even though I have been using Thieves for the last couple of years. I thought you might appreciate it ,too.
If you haven’t tried Thieves, you can purchase it through my link or find a local distributor. More information is available also with no purchase needed.
My Friday Favorites:
First, I found this Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta recipe that looked so delicious. I adapted it to fit my family’s dietary preferences ( subbed the pasta for einkorn pasta which has very little gluten and digests differently, used peas instead of asparagus) and it was SO good. This stuff tastes like Olive Garden Alfredo and it was a fraction of the cost and much healthier with the switched out pasta. Also, this tastes much better than it looks.
These adorable seals (sea lions?) were all over the beach in La Jolla , California. I spent the better part of a couple hours watching and photographing these wild seals in their natural habitat. It was such a privilege . I also loved the sunny days while on vacation there.
What are your favorites this Friday?
Photos of naturally colored Easter eggs are all over Pinterest this year. If you are like me , the photos look too good to be true and it sounds like a lot of work to dye a few eggs. The idea is to avoid artificial colorants and chemicals and create beautiful natural colors on Easter eggs. Since I can’t turn down a creative challenge, I decided to give it a shot and see how the eggs would turn out. I figured at the very least I could let my readers know if it worked or warn them away if it didn’t.
The kids and I gathered , washed and boiled a few dozen eggs and I searched my kitchen for the items that are Pinterest approved to color eggs. We decided to use cranberries for red, blueberries for blue, purple potatoes for violet, spinach for green and turmeric for yellow . I boiled and then simmered all of the food items with water until the water turned a dark hue and then drained out the food bits, poured the liquid into mugs and added a little vinegar for sticking power. The only exception to this method was the turmeric which I just poured into hot water and stirred really well.
First of all, you will not get a brightly colored egg with these items, even if you leave it in the coloring for 40 minutes. Second, it doesn’t work well on brown eggs. The light colors showed up best on the white eggs.
The best results came from the turmeric powder by producing a beautiful yellow or a deep orange depending on soaking time ( a minute as compared to 5 minutes). The cranberries yielded a light pink, and the blueberries left a pastel blue that got darker the longer the egg sat in the liquid. You can see the colors in the photos to get an idea of how it worked.
A few things were complete failures – spinach did nothing but add a little brown tinge, and the purple potatoes just looked a dirty gray. Chilli powder did nothing either. We traded the potatoes for grape juice and managed to get a nice purple toned egg. We used liquid chlorophyll and got a speckled green egg from that.
Over all, the experiment was fun and I liked the softer colors, but it left the kids a little disappointed with the results as compared to the traditional food coloring eggs. If you want to try it just to see what happens, go for it, but don’t expect it to be quite the same. This process does have a certain appeal to those who prefer to avoid artificial ingredients around their kids and the colors are pretty after some tweaking.
I have to say that I disagree with the idea that it saves any money. The amount of foodstuff and herbs used costs more than buying a few chemical free egg dyes. I may try again sometime with some red beets or raspberries and I have read that red cabbage makes a nice aqua .
If you have had better success or tried this, I would love to hear how it went and would welcome input on how to improve my method.
April Fool’s Day has always been fun for me , ever since I was little and my dad would tell us every year to look out the window at the purple pony , elephant or something else odd. We fell for it every.single.time.
My oldest son asked me to make some “fake food ” for his class today. We have a tradition of having a slightly crazy dinner on April Fool’s Day. I , it have made meatball and mashed potato cupcakes and other silly things , but somehow the one they request most is this “grilled cheese” sandwich. Of course , it isn’t really grilled cheese ( and is not at all the kind of food I typically feed my kids) but it is a lot of fun for them.
Its extremely easy to make . Slice up a loaf of pound cake or angel food , pop it in the toaster just long enough to brown it lightly, and make the filling from yellow frosting. Easy, peasy fun!
I am so excited for spring time! It seems like winter has been so dreary and the fresh spring air is just so appreciated this year. Next weekend is Easter! If you are looking for a fun and FREE entertainment idea for your kids in the grocery checkout line or during a car ride, here are some free Easter apps for kids! There are a couple virtual Easter egg hunts , a puzzle game, and one that I think would go over really well if you have a child who adores Minecraft like mine do.
(previews of the games are available before you download any of them)
3D Easter Hunt – for Android 2.4 and newer
Hidden Egg Hunt- works on Android 2.2 and newer
Easter Puzzle – also works on Android 2.2 and up
3D Easter Treasure Hunt – this is also an Android app. It looks so much like Minecraft that I know my boys would love it. Too bad I switched to iphone! Most of the free apps are for Android, it seems. I’m sure there are some for iPhone too, so I will just have to find them!
Enjoy and feel free to share!
As promised, here is a short list of the best last-minute spring break deals available for 2015. If you are looking for the spring break “classics” like a road trip to the beach, a family vacation in Orlando, FL or a cruise to an exotic locale, there are a few discounts for last minute bookings. Often the best prices are obtained at the last minute , but you are more limited in options and availability. So, I scoured social media and my travel company emails, and found a few fun offers for you .
For starters, here is where to look to find the best deal on Beaches:
For the very best last minute pricing on a beach-front booking, I highly suggest searching for your location on Homeaway or VRBO . There are many high quality condos for rent by owner and they are often willing to come down in price within a few weeks of travel if their unit has not been rented. One note here is to be sure and check how much the cleaning fees are, because they can run up to $100 for a week long rental and need to be included in the cost. Many owners also require a minimum stay of 3 nights to a week. This is my favorite option for finding a high quality lodging for a discounted price. We have often found ourselves staying in a luxury condo with 5 star amenities for a discount of up to 50% just for asking.
Use your travel company websites and search for what you want! Many beach resorts that have vacancies are listed on places like Orbitz, or even Groupon. Just visit the site and look for a section titled ” last minute deals” to see what they are offering. This changes often , but tonight there are offers galore. One option for a beach vacation can be found at Orbitz where they are having a sale on beach vacations. They have a promo for up to 35% off beach resorts! and you can also use coupon code TAKEABREAK at checkout for stays two nights and longer booked through Orbitz. You must book by March 29 but have until September 30, 2015 to travel.
To check for the perfect vacation at Groupon, just click on “getaways” at the top of the page. Then select “beaches ” in the left hand sidebar. That will give you a lot of wonderful trips for less that half of what they are worth.
I hope this is helpful to someone and that you will stop by tomorrow to read about last minute deals available in Orlando!