Seasonal Savings: What’s In Season for June?

A great way to save money is to take advantage of seasonal savings. Time to take a look at what’s in season for your area for June. Be sure to check the What’s in Season Map to see what items you might not only be able to save money on but which tend to be the freshest. I often buy up extra in-season items to freeze for when the prices are higher. Several items freeze easily and can store flat in a Ziploc-type bag in your freezer.

Here’s what’s in Season for Illinois: (Check the map for your area)

asparagus
cabbage
cherries
eggplant
garlic
nectarines
okra
peas
rhubarb
strawberries

These are just some of the things you might see at a discounted price in the grocery stores and what you might find at most farmer’s markets right now. If you haven’t been to a farmer’s market yet, you can use Local Harvest to see if there’s one near you. Some of my favorite things to pick up at ours are eggs, honey, in-season veggies and some of the glorious bread items some of bakers have there.

Also, don’t forget that some Farmer’s Markets offer free activities/crafts for the kids–and sometimes free music. Ours has free music in the afternoon. We’ll pick up some fresh food and then sit and enjoy some free entertainment. It can be a great way to spend time with your family, do some free activities and enjoy some free music. I love that my kids are growing up meeting the people that grow some of our food.

What have you been finding seasonal savings on right now? (And it doesn’t have to be just food!)

Seasonal Savings: What’s in Season for July

Hard to believe it’s already July but it’s a new month so it’s time to take another look at What’s In Season for July in your area. You can check out the What’s In Season Map to see what items you might not only be able to save money on but which tend to be the freshest. I often buy up extra in-season items to freeze for when the prices are higher. Several items freeze easily and can store flat in a Ziploc-type bag in your freezer.

Here’s what in Season for Illinois:

artichokes, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, eggplant, nectarines, okra, peaches, raspberries, rhubarb

Here’s a picture of the things I picked up at our local farmer’s market this last week:

farmers-market-july

I was so happy to see that our Farmer’s Market had lots of choices for blueberries and cherries this last week. We’ve been enjoying these all week as a snack, on our pancakes/waffles and in yogurt. You can use LocalHarvest.org to see if there’s a farmer’s market near you. You might also be able to find a pick-your-own farm where you can pick berries with your family. We do this every year. Not only is it a fun outing but we have amazing blueberries all year as we freeze a lot of what we pick. The kids ask to go every year now.

What is my favorite thing to get at the farmer’s market? Honey! You can’t beat it straight from them. Even the Organic/Natural ones I’ve found in the store don’t come close to the same taste. It’s nice to add to things like Greek yogurt, smoothies, teas, etc. My kids have come to love eating it right off the spoon for a little treat.

I hope you’ll take time to enjoy some in-season items this month!

Seasonal Savings: What’s in Season for April?

A great way to save money is to take advantage of seasonal savings. Time to take a look at what’s in season for your area for April. Be sure to check the What’s in Season Map to see what items you possibly save money on. In-season items also tend to be the freshest. I often buy up extra in-season items to freeze for when the prices are higher. Several items freeze easily and can store flat in a Ziploc-type bag in your freezer.

Here’s what’s in Season for Illinois: (Check the map for your area)

asparagus
broccoli
cabbage
lettuce
onions
peas
spinach

These are just some of the things you might see at a discounted price in the grocery stores or what you might find at most farmer’s markets right now, if you are lucky enough to still have one open near you. Ours doesn’t open until the end of April and I can’t wait for when it does! If you haven’t been to a farmer’s market yet, you can use Local Harvest to see if there’s one near you. Some of my favorite things to pick up at ours are eggs, honey, in-season veggies and Organic meats.

Here are some other options for freezing:

~Buying onions and peas and freezing – would be great to have chopped and ready for things such as stir-frys, fajitas or for extra flavor for soups/stews
~Blanching broccoli to have frozen broccoli on hand for a vegetable side dish
~The kids love eating asparagus when they are “feeding their pandas” during our Rice Panda Nights

What have you been finding seasonal savings on right now? (And it doesn’t have to be just food!)

Seasonal Savings: What’s in Season for November?

A great way to save money is to take advantage of seasonal savings. Time to take a look at what’s in season for your area for November. Be sure to check the What’s in Season Map to see what items you possibly save money on. In-season items also tend to be the freshest. I often buy up extra in-season items to freeze for when the prices are higher. Several items freeze easily and can store flat in a Ziploc-type bag in your freezer.

Here’s what’s in Season for Illinois: (Check the map for your area)

apples
broccoli
cabbage
horseradish
onions
peppers
pumpkins
spinach
sweet potatoes
winter squash

These are just some of the things you might see at a discounted price in the grocery stores or what you might find at most farmer’s markets right now, if you are lucky enough to still have some open near you. (most have closed for the season in colder areas.) If you haven’t been to a farmer’s market yet, you can use Local Harvest to see if there’s one near you. Some of my favorite things to pick up at ours are eggs, honey, in-season veggies and Organic meats.

You should also be finding lots of varieties of squash in season. I found a great Acorn Squash Soup Recipe that my family loves–even those that didn’t normally like squash, loved this soup! Double your batch and then freeze the leftovers in small portions so you can pull them out for a quick lunch later.

Here are some other options for freezing:

~Crockpot Applesauce Recipe – Great way to use extra apples!
~Cooking Sweet Potatoes, pureeing/mashing and freezing for future side dishes
~Buying onions and peppers and freezing, would be great to have chopped and ready for things such as stir-frys or fajitas
~Blanching broccoli to have frozen broccoli on hand

Don’t forget to keep your eyes open for all of those “Loss Leader” Thanksgiving items around this time. Stores will discount items to crazy prices just to get you into their store for your Thanksgiving food business. Some things discounted: chicken broth, stuffing, flour, baking powder and of course, turkey!

What have you been finding seasonal savings on right now? (And it doesn’t have to be just food!)

Seasonal Savings: What’s in Season for October?

A great way to save money is to take advantage of seasonal savings. Time to take a look at what’s in season for your area for October. Be sure to check the What’s in Season Map to see what items you possibly save money on.  In-season items also tend to be the freshest. I often buy up extra in-season items to freeze for when the prices are higher. Several items freeze easily and can store flat in a Ziploc-type bag in your freezer.

Here’s what’s in Season for Illinois: (Check the map for your area)

apples
asian pears
cabbage
cauliflower
garlic
horseradish
onions
potatoes
pumpkins
sweet potatoes

These are just some of the things you might see at a discounted price in the grocery stores and what you might find at most farmer’s markets right now. If you haven’t been to a farmer’s market yet, you can use Local Harvest to see if there’s one near you. Some of my favorite things to pick up at ours are eggs, honey, in-season veggies and Organic meats.

Also, don’t forget that some Farmer’s Markets offer free activities/crafts for the kids–and sometimes free music. Ours has free music in the afternoon. We’ll pick up some fresh food and then sit and enjoy some free entertainment. It can be a great way to spend time with your family, do some free activities and enjoy some free music. I love that my kids are growing up meeting the people that grow some of our food.

If you have your own gardens, don’t forget to check to see if it’s time to plant some garlic for next year! They are incredibly easy to grow and such a nice thing to have on hand to add flavor to your meals. With pumpkins and sweet potatoes being in season, you can cook some of these up, mash them and freeze them for a quick veggie side dish or even for having on hand to sneak into your baked goods like flavored breads, cupcakes, etc.

You should also be finding lots of varieties of squash in season. I found a great Acorn Squash Soup Recipe that my family loves–even those that didn’t normally like squash, loved this soup! Double your batch and then freeze the leftovers in small portions so you can pull them out for a quick lunch later.

What have you been finding seasonal savings on right now? (And it doesn’t have to be just food!)

Planning Ahead: Little Crafty Gift Ideas

It won’t be too long before the holidays are here and I wanted to share a few of the past crafty ideas I’ve posted in case you wanted to start planning ahead and making these with/for the kids. I’m posting these now, as well, as several stores have their school supplies on sale and you might be able to grab up some deals to make these:

Book Box – This was a big favorite with several of my readers. You’ll need to find a box, either holiday in theme or one you can wrap with holiday paper, and fill it with wrapped books. (Check your Michael’s Craft Store as they have boxes on sale for $2 through 9/22/12.) The kids get to unwrap a new book randomly throughout the year. It’s a gift that keeps on giving year-round!  See the post on it here.

Personalized Crayon Holders – These are made from empty, and cleaned, frosting containers. Pair this with a coloring book and maybe even some things you can find during school supplies clearance sales to make a cute gift set. Several of our stores have backpacks, pencils, notebooks, etc on clearance. A great way to put together an arts/crafts bookbag. Read the post on it here.

Bowling Pin Set – Save up some Coffee-Mate Creamer Jars and buy some colored electrical tape (most dollar stores sell it) and turn them into a bowling pin set for the kids. You may be able to find some summer items on clearance to find something to serve as the bowling ball. Or…..

…turn them into a cute snowman decoration. You can even fill them with hot chocolate mix and marshmallows and a mug for some hot cocoa! These might be cute sticking out of a stocking, especially if filled with holiday candies/treats!

Personalized Journal – You should be able to find the composition notebooks on clearance at places like Target right now. Turn one of them and some scrapbook paper into a cute personalized journal for someone. Also pick up some nice pens in the school clearance sales to pair with it. You can read the post on that here.

CD Case Photos – Hang onto an old CD case so you can turn it into a photo frame that might be nice for a parent’s office desk or a grandparent’s end table.

Seek-and-Find Containers: Save up a Parmesan Cheese Container and some odds-and-ends and turn it into a Seek-and-Find Container. My kids love theirs and play with it often. Add a little tape around the lid to secure it and you’ll have a nice game to distract them while traveling!

Photo Collage – Turn a Canvas Board, some fabric and pics into a cute photo collage for a family member. See the post on that here. Note: I’ve had mine for four years and it looks just as good as the day I made it!

Hot Chocolate Cones – Keep your eyes open for cone-shaped wrappers, sales on hot chocolate mix and mini chocolate chips to make these. Several of my readers have turned them into gifts for their kid’s classmates for the holidays.

Peek-a-Boo Board – This is great for young’uns that are still excited about peek-a-boo. Just be careful to use materials that are appropriate for their age. You can read the posting on it here.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from younger kids it’s this – gifts don’t have to be elaborate to be fabulous. With them, it’s all about the simplicity and fun of it!

Seasonal Savings: What’s in Season for August

A great way to save money is to take advantage of seasonal savings. Time to take a look at what’s in season for your area for August. Be sure to check the What’s in Season Map to see what items you might not only be able to save money on but which tend to be the freshest. I often buy up extra in-season items to freeze for when the prices are higher. Several items freeze easily and can store flat in a Ziploc-type bag in your freezer.

Here’s what’s in Season for Illinois: (Check the map for your area)

peppers
corn
eggplant
melon
nectarines
peaches
plums
summer squash
tomatoes
watermelon

These are just some of the things you might see at a discounted price in the grocery stores and what you might find at most farmer’s markets right now. If you haven’t been to a farmer’s market yet, you can use Local Harvest to see if there’s one near you. Some of my favorite things to pick up at ours are eggs, honey, in-season veggies and Organic meats.

Also, don’t forget that some Farmer’s Markets offer free activities/crafts for the kids–and sometimes free music. Ours has free music in the afternoon. We’ll pick up some fresh food and then sit and enjoy some free entertainment. It can be a great way to spend time with your family, do some free activities and enjoy some free music. I love that my kids are growing up meeting the people that grow some of our food.

I usually try to find time in August to freeze some fruits and veggies for winter, when prices are much higher. I often freeze green beans and corn. It’s a fairly easy process for both.

What have you been finding seasonal savings on right now? (And it doesn’t have to be just food!)